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Mental Health Care for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Defining Autism is a bit complicated. It doesn't come with a particular set of symptoms. Instead, it combines different conditions mainly involving behavioral and communication problems. However, these are not the only symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The severity varies from person to person. It can be a minor or major problem, requiring full-time medical attention and special care. According to a systematic review and multi-analysis by IMCR, it is estimated that more than 2 million people had Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2019. Millions of people in India suffer from this disorder every year.
But what exactly is ASD? Let's understand this further. In simple layman's terms, it refers to diverse conditions impacting the development of the human brain.
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Ms Sanchita Agrawal

Clinical Psychologist
8 years of experience
I strongly believe in the power of collaboration and strive to create a safe and open space where my clients can freely express themselves. Hi, I am Sanchita, a licensed clinical psychologist with extensive experience working with individuals of all ages. My focus areas include emotional and behavioral difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, autism, ADHD, intellectual disability, and marital issues. I have worked in both in-patient and outpatient departments across the government and private sectors. My approach to therapy is eclectic, as I tailor it to the specific needs of each individual I work with. I am also well-versed in various therapeutic modalities, including cognitive behavior therapy, motivation enhancement therapy, behavior modification, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. My M.Phil training has provided me with expertise in administering various assessment tools ensuring credible and standardized diagnoses. As your psychologist, you can count on my dedication, compassion, and commitment to delivering the highest quality of care. I bring a wealth of experience and a diverse skill set to support you on your journey toward improved mental health and overall well-being. By fostering empathy, non-judgment, patience, and perseverance, I aim to facilitate effective problem-solving and empower my clients to achieve their goals.
Today, 22 May, 03:00 pm IST
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Koramangala, Bangalore
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Ms Aarti Nandu

Psychologist, Clinical Hypnotherapist
12 years of experience
I firmly believe in fostering better self-understanding and psychological growth through empathy and warmth, ultimately leading to the holistic betterment of individuals. Hey, I am Aarti Suri Nandu, and I hold a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in School Counselling and Career Guidance from SNDT University, Mumbai. Additionally, I have acquired a Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy from the California Hypnosis Institute, USA. For over 12 years, I have had the privilege of working with individuals across all age groups, addressing a diverse array of personal, developmental, and mental health concerns. My areas of expertise encompass Hypnotherapy, Couple/Marital/Family Therapy, Prenatal and Postnatal Counseling, Positive Parenting Skills, Career Guidance, Mindfulness Practices, and Therapies for Depression, Anxiety, and other emotional and psychological issues. Moreover, I have also gained the honor of being recognized by The Honourable Governor of Maharashtra, Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyariji, for my contribution to mental health, particularly for offering online free services nationwide during the COVID-19 restrictions. I am deeply committed to supporting individuals on their journey toward mental well-being and personal growth. Through a combination of empathy, expertise, and dedication, I strive to empower my clients to navigate life's challenges with resilience and authenticity, ultimately fostering a more fulfilling and meaningful existence.
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Major Causes

Though the exact cause of ASD is yet unknown, it is found to stem from the part of the brain that leads to the interpretation of sensory input and language processing. Here are a few presumed causes of it:
  • Genetics - Many studies have proved that genes play a vital role in the development of this disorder. It has been found that a specific combination of genes leads to the development of this condition in the child.

  • Environment - Environmental factors are also said to cause this disorder. It has been found that people who become parents at an older age have a higher chance of having a child with this disorder.

    It has also been found that women who were exposed to alcohol, certain drugs, smoking, and medications during their pregnancy have a higher likelihood of having autistic children.

  • Other causes - There are other causes like maternal metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity, untreated phenylketonuria, and rubella that are known to be one of its causes. Phenylketonuria, also known as PKU, is a metabolic condition that is caused due to the absence of a specific enzyme.

Common Signs

The signs of this disorder vary based on the age of the children. Hence the signs are divided into two parts:
  1. In young children - The signs in young children include:
    • Not responding to their name
    • Avoiding eye contact
    • Being particularly annoyed about a certain smell, taste, or sound
    • Not smiling back when others smile at you
    • Indulging in repetitive movements, like hands flapping, fingers flicking, body rocking, etc.
    • Being alone and refraining from talking with other kids
    • Repeating the same phrases over and over

  2. In older children - The signs in older children include:
    • Failing to understand others and their thoughts and feelings
    • Finding it hard to communicate how they feel
    • Having a strict daily routine and being extremely annoyed when there is a disruption in it.
    • Having a keen interest in specific activities
    • Being annoyed when asked to do something
    • Facing difficulty in making friends

The Different Types

This disorder is grouped under specific categories.

Asperger’s Syndrome

In this type, the children don't have language issues. In fact, their intelligence scores are mostly average or above average. But, they face issues with social skills, and their area of interest is quite limited.

Autistic Disorder

This occurs mostly in children who are younger than three years. They might face issues with social interactions and communication. Along with the social skills, they might also face problems playing with other children.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

This usually occurs after the age of 2. The children suffering from it have normal development up to 2 years of their age but might lose their communication, and social skills post that.

Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD)

This category is for children with symptoms that don't fit into any other category. These include symptoms like delay in the development of social and communication skills.

How to Cope With Your Symptoms

Though there is no cure for this disorder, there are ways to help you cope with the symptoms. The effectiveness of treatment depends on when the treatment is started—the earlier the treatment starts, the better the chances of recovery.
Also, there's no specific treatment for ASD. The treatment is customized based on the needs and requirements of the child.
Here's how to cope with it:
  • Social skills training - The children who suffer from ASD might lack cognitive expression or have inapt IQ. They can fail to make eye contact and forget to smile when someone smiles at them.
    They can also suffer from separation anxiety. This makes it extremely important for them to have social skills training to help them learn how to engage with other people.
  • Cognitive therapy - Cognitive therapy improves the child's intellect and academic performance. It involves using certain small tasks, sums, activities, and applications like using an abacus to enhance their cognitive and expressive power. Though it takes a long time, it's quite effective.
  • Behavior therapy - Behavior therapy is done so the child learns how to respond and behave in a certain way. Applied behavior therapy helps in teaching them positive behaviors and discouraging negative behavior.
  • Parental therapy - Parental therapy refers to talk therapy given to parents. It involves training parents to help their children be less dependent on them. They are taught why and how they should refrain from doing so. This is done for the child's well-being and growth.
  • Vocational and educational training - There are special schools available for kids with ASD. The teachers are taught to behave sensitively to the unique needs of their students.
    Hence, a positive, healthy environment must be developed to foster these children's development. The teachers are trained to be sensitive to better cater to the child's needs.
    These children are also given educational training. The education of these children is limited to things that are required for their everyday living and functioning.
    After 16, these children are also given vocational training to identify their unique qualities. This is very important as it prepares them for the future. They are given vocational training to identify their special skills, which can be later used as a means of occupation for them.
  • Creative training - Many children with ASD are very creative. They excel at painting, art, music, etc. This also helps enhance their intelligence.
  • Speech therapy - This involves intensive therapy that helps these children enunciate the vowels, consonants, etc. They are taught how to speak properly using different techniques.

Get Treatment From a Licensed Therapist Who's Right For You

Finding the right therapist is vital when your child is dealing with ASD. You can find the list of various therapists on our website. You can easily choose from the various specialists from different domains with qualities like being a good listener, empathetic, caring, helpful, etc.

Schedule a Virtual Psychotherapy Appointment with a Counsellor Today

If your child has been suffering from the symptoms of Autism and it's not getting any better, it might be time for you to consider getting help from a trusted therapist.
We at DocVita have various specialists from different fields to help you and your child manage and cope with it better. This blog wouldn't have been successful without the help of one of our psychotherapists, Miss Khusboo Wasan. The insights provided by her have made this blog more informative.
So, don't wait up. Remember, the earlier you start, the better it is for you and your child. All you have to do is hop on to DocVita and book your first session online today!