Autism: What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder and How Is It Diagnosed in a Neurological Society? | ASD | Neurology | Different Skills | Home-family

Enrique Sumpitas (43) wakes up early every morning, makes his bed and prepares to go to work. Lima Pass card in hand, he heads to the McDonald's in Pershing, where he was recently promoted to trainer after 12 years with the company. In her day she performs various tasks: putting together happy meals and cutting chocolate for ice cream, training new entrants in the food chain. “It's difficult, but I'm happy to learn new things, be useful and help with my household expenses,” shares the 'gig', who was diagnosed at the age of three-and-a-half. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

“It gives us great satisfaction to see how Enrique is working. We were amazed at what he could do and how he managed his own decisions. Once they begin this process, be patient and confident that they will grow. Don't despair. Everything takes time. The main thing is to never give up on them, have a lot of perseverance, but remember that they set the limit, not us. We have to give them a chance to grow and grow freely,” Enrique's father Fermin Sumbitas advised.

Enrique started working at the municipality of San Ysidro, he spent 7 years at 3M, and for 12 years he was at McDonald's, where he was promoted to trainer and now teaches new entrants. (Photo: McDonald's)

Similarly, after a weekend of swimming and country dancing, Luis José Gómez Hidalgo (19) is ready to start his job in the same food chain where he has worked for nine months and shares his good energy with his colleagues. Despite the challenges of autism spectrum disorder, he feels happy because he has new friends who accept him as he is and help him when needed. “I feel more independent, productive and responsible,” highlights Jose.

Today, as we celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, we celebrate events like Kike and Josue, because despite the challenges of the neuroscience world, they were able to explore all their potential and realize they are happy in a job and a home. . This day is a great opportunity to remember that the road is not always easy, but an informed community can improve the situation and promote inclusion.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)?

Ricardo Palma Clinic Pediatric Neurologist Dr. According to Pamela Munoz, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are neurological disorders that create difficulties in emotional and social areas. “This reflects greater difficulty in interacting socially with people and understanding language, whether sign or spoken language,” he noted.

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Along these lines, the child neurologist of Sanna Clinica San Borja, Dr. Viviana Granados Alzamora clarified that the term “spectrum” is used to describe the existence of different types, as the intensity of the disorder is different for each patient. . Additionally, the expert pointed out that it is a developmental disorder, as symptoms usually appear in the first two years of life. “Therefore, it is important to learn to recognize the symptoms of suspected autism, so that parents, doctors, teachers, etc. can make an early diagnosis. In this way, the patient will be referred to specialists in time to start early treatment intervention,” he highlighted.

Although each case is different, ASD is characterized by the development of difficulties in social, cognitive, behavioral and emotional development.

“According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people on the autism spectrum are characterized by interpersonal and social interaction, restricted interests, and stereotyped or repetitive behaviors that affect their development in society,” he said. Dr. Granatos.

What are the early signs of autism spectrum disorder?

Dr. According to Granatos Alzamora, there are early signs to identify a case of ASD. First, at the age of three months, the baby does not have a social smile and is not interested in initiating social interactions. Then, at six months, there is a lack of interest and little apparent variation in the environment, with no additional talking or mutual vocalizations.

At nine months, the baby cannot recognize the people in its environment, including its parents. Similarly, he cannot examine sounds, whether they are consonants or vowels. Later, at one age, clear signs appear, such as avoiding exploring with toys, not uttering syllables, and not demanding an adult's attention.

“At one-and-a-half years old, it is common for a child to not speak any words or express emotions. However, at the same time, it is normal to have temper tantrums and difficulty staying calm. Finally, at age two, he cannot say two-word phrases on purpose, he does not ask for food or drink, he does not play pretend games, and he does not point to parts of his body. ” said the doctor.

Children with ASD tend to enjoy their time alone.

Dr. Muñoz asserted that social-level traits appear as early as age three. “They tend to ignore the children in their group and do not seek to communicate with them. They avoid and reject contact. They isolate themselves because they feel more comfortable being alone. If changed, they have routines that can create convulsive episodes,” highlighted the pediatric neurologist.

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How is autism spectrum disorder diagnosed?

A diagnosis of autism is made clinically and by a child neurologist and/or child psychiatrist based on their knowledge and experience, Dr. Granados noted. “The diagnostic support team consists of paediatricians, psychologists, neuropsychologists, educational specialists and language, occupational and behavioral therapists who are experts capable of recognizing symptoms and referring them to specialist doctors,” he highlighted.

In general, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends periodic screenings for all children at 9, 18, 25 and 30 months to detect any delays in child development. Screening for autism spectrum disorders should be done specifically at 18 and 24 months.

Dr. ASD can be confused with other disorders such as attention deficit disorder or other language pathology Munoz insisted. Therefore, it is necessary to make a careful and responsible diagnosis. “Although you need to be older than 3 to get an accurate diagnosis, symptoms can be seen before that age, so those behaviors should not be ignored and specialized treatment should be sought as soon as possible,” he added.

Diagnosing ASD requires a multidisciplinary team to perform various assessments.

Granados listed the following factors that must be evaluated to achieve an adequate diagnosis:

  • Cognitive skills
  • Speech and language skills
  • Social skills
  • Changes in sensory integration
  • Manners and behavior
  • Medical history including family history
  • Audition
  • Metabolic diseases and/or genetic evaluations

In the words of a neurologist at SANNA Clínica San Borja, early diagnosis is essential because the earlier the treatment is started the better the patient's prognosis. “These treatments help reduce language problems, learn new skills, improve their strengths, and improve social integration,” he emphasized.

What treatments are available for a child with autism spectrum disorder?

Treatment is multifaceted. There isn't just one, because it's based on different types of treatment and on-demand medication. Dr. Granatos listed the following options:

  • Vocational, emotional, behavioral, psychological and educational interventions: They aim to reduce inappropriate behaviours, improve emotional awareness, improve self-help skills and improve social, communication and language skills.
  • Pharmacological treatment: If necessary, it aims to reduce irritability, aggression, hyperactivity, inattention, anxiety or depression. It will be prescribed by a specialist doctor.
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“Although symptoms can last a lifetime, early and intensive treatment, along with family support based on a variety of therapies, can improve the symptoms and ability to function in people with these disorders,” the doctor said.

What challenges does an ASD person face in a neurological world?

“One of the main challenges a person with ASD must face is understanding their position within society and, at the same time, accepting neuroticism or neuroticism as a different way of perceiving, expressing or understanding themselves emotionally. “Interests and Emotions. There is a need to create greater awareness among people to include them in education, society and work environments in an accepting and supportive environment,” said Dr. Viviana Granados.

In terms of their abilities, children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder have many obstacles, mainly due to the prejudices of the society that does not have enough information on this subject. Limitation can also come from parents who allow their son or daughter to be independent and fend for themselves. “Sometimes, as parents, the biggest mistake we make is to protect them too much, but we have to give them a chance to grow. Are they going to make mistakes? Yes, but that's how you learn. They feel so much happier when we give them the confidence to do that,” said Luis Jose Gomez's mother. Rocio Hidalgo announced that he was diagnosed with ASD at age 3 and today, at age 19, works at McDonald's.

Luis José says he feels more productive and independent because his job allows him to help with household expenses, learn new things, and work in a team. (Photos: McDonald's)

Rocio was able to observe how his son became more responsible thanks to his work experience. “Typically, autistic children are very attached to their routine, but he went all over the place and adapted to everything,” she emphasized. Likewise, Josue affirmed that the experience has allowed her to make new friends, overcome challenges, and use her mistakes to improve.

“The important thing is to never give up on them, to have a lot of perseverance, but remember that they set the limit, not us. We have to give them the opportunity to grow and become independent,” concluded Fermin Sumpitas, father of Enrique Sumpitas.

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