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Article

Does Your Loved One Suffer from Autism? Help Guide for Caregivers

By Meghana Giridhar,
March 31

Autism also known as Autism Spectrum disorder is the name given to a complex brain condition that primarily affects verbal and non-verbal communication. About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births. More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. The intensity of autism symptoms varies but there are certain common symptoms that affect almost everyone with the condition. These include: •    Inability to form friendships •    Limited interest in sharing interests •    Inability to understand another person’s emotions such as pain •    Delayed speech •    Inability to start or maintain a conversation •    Repetitive use of language or body movements such as hand flapping •    Difficulty in interpreting humor or other aspects of language in a social setting Understanding what a person with autism might be going through is one of the toughest challenges of caregiving. According to doctors, an autistic person views the world very differently from others. Not all senses work in harmony. It is difficult for them to evaluate what’s going on within their environment. Key details are often overlooked making the world very confusing.  Autistic people are constantly trying to make sense of this skewed reality. Here are some areas that are usually difficult for autistic people to perceive: •    Intense sensitivity to sound: They often can be seen trying to block loud noises or use their body to soothe themselves by rocking side to side. •    Increased awareness of touch: Physical sensations that are usually barely felt by us are felt very strongly by those with autism. For eg, a windy day or someone wanting to give a hug can be very disturbing. •    Delayed speech is a symptom of autism which means those suffering cannot decipher how language works. Articulation is an overwhelming task which is it is common for them to display signs of shyness or wanting to retreat when they don’t understand what’s going on. •    Adults and children with autism try to bring a sense of order with some of these coping methods: Self-stimulatory behaviors or “stimming” is common: This includes walking in circles, repeating words, making noises. This can also help with concentration. Obsessive need to organize: Autistic people like order and routine and any kind of deviation upsets them. This is because they are trying to make sense of a very chaotic environment. So behaviors like lining up books according to height, closing all doors and windows etc. Focus and mastery over a single topic: Many who suffer from autism display a remarkable ability to memorize statistics or characters. This gives them a sense of control. Caregivers can use this to their advantage because it helps with communication. They can use the topic of interest to interact with their loved ones. April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. For those with the condition, the world can be a very isolating place. Caregivers facing this insurmountable journey need all the support available. Here are some resources that can be of help: http://www.nationalautismresources.com/ https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-guide http://autismnow.org/ http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm Caregivers are the key people who anchor and make loved ones with autism feel safe. Empathy is the essence of this journey.   References: http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/features/understanding-autism-symptoms https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/facts-and-statistics/ Meghana Giridhar serves as Content Coordinator and is part of eCareDiary's founding team.  In her role, she oversees and edits content across all of eCareDiary's media platforms. If you found this article useful, please click the “Share This” icon below to make it available to your family and friends.

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Radio Show

Radio Show

Yoga to Manage Parkinson's Disease Symptoms

April 7

eCareDiary will speak to Renee Le Verrier of LIM Yoga who is a certified yoga instructor and author of "Yoga for Movement Disorders" about how it can help with Parkinson's symptoms and in rebuilding strength and flexibility.

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