A Therapist, Maryam Ibrahim-Maifada, says early diagnosis and intervention can improve behaviour, skills and language development of children with autism.
She disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Kaduna.
Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and non-verbal communication.It is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact and impacts the nervous system. The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely, but common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests and repetitive behaviours.Early recognition, as well as behavioural, educational and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning.
Ibrahim-Maifada, the CEO of Mifad Autism Developmental and Other Disabilities Support Initiative (MADDSI),
said “early intervention is most helpful and can improve behaviour, skills and language development.
“Although children usually don’t outgrow autism spectrum disorder symptoms, they may learn to function
The therapist listed the symptoms to include the inability to perform daily tasks, trouble in building relationships,
paranoid and limited and repetitive abnormal behaviour.
The expert said although some organisations had contributed to the diagnosis and treatment of ASD, it was important for people to know about the disorder.
She explained that “autism is a neurological condition that lasts lifelong and can manifest during early childhood.
“Both genetics and environment may play a role. Different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. For some children, the disorder can be associated with a genetic disorder called Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome.
“For other children, genetic changes (mutations) may increase the risk of autism, while other genes may affect brain development or the way that brain cells communicate, or they may determine the severity of symptoms.
“Some genetic mutations seem to be inherited, while others occur spontaneously,’’ she said.
Ibrahim-Maifada said on environmental factors, researchers were currently exploring whether factors such as viral infections, medications or complications during pregnancy, or air pollutants play a role in triggering autism.
“One can notice the symptoms of the disorder from childhood that is from the age of two to three years.
“However, until many children grow up, this disorder is not recognised,’’ she added.