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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 Jennifer Sarah J

Counselling Psychologist, Mindfulness Practitioner
3 years of experience
My approach is deeply rooted in creating a safe, non-judgmental space where clients feel heard, understood, and valued. Hi, I am Jennifer! I am a dedicated counseling psychologist, passionate about helping individuals reach their fullest potential and achieve greater well-being. With extensive experience in counseling and a focus on person-centered therapy, cognitive restructuring, and mindfulness practices, I have had the privilege of working with over 2000 clients across various settings. In my therapy sessions, I bring empathy, compassion, and unconditional positive regard to every session, fostering an environment where clients can explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with authenticity and dedication. I hold a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology and a Diploma as a Mindfulness Practitioner. Working across diverse backgrounds, such as mental health institutions, renowned companies, special schools, juvenile homes, psychiatric clinics, etc., has enriched my knowledge and work ethic. Moreover, I specialize in addressing concerns such as self-improvement, relationship issues, career-related issues, academic-related concerns, self-esteem, sleep, stress management, anxiety, depression, and more. I utilize an eclectic and humanistic approach to therapy, catering to the specific needs of my clients, guiding them toward cultivating self-awareness and self-understanding, enhancing emotional resilience, and managing stress. I strive to ensure my clients feel heard, validated, safe, inclusive, and accepted in my therapy sessions and that we work collaboratively to address their concerns.
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Ms Neha Kumar

Counselling Psychologist
3 years of experience
Therapy with me involves cultivating practical and effective treatment strategies that help manage symptoms and promote overall well-being.  Hi, I’m Neha, a proficient counseling psychologist with a rich therapeutic journey spanning over 3 years and helping numerous clients with varied populations from ages 18 and onwards. Throughout my practice, I have addressed a comprehensive range of concerns, such as Anxiety issues, Depression, Stress, Relationship issues, Phobias, Grief, and other mental health disorders. In my practice, I employ an eclectic approach of evidence-based techniques alongside empathy and acceptance to provide effective and personalized treatment. I firmly believe in the concept of holistic healing, which involves addressing the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects that contribute to an individual's comprehensive well-being and growth. Whether you are processing painful emotions, healing from past trauma, looking to develop healthier behavioral habits, or seeking greater self-awareness, I aim to understand that every client's needs, abilities, and receptiveness are unique. I am passionate about encouraging individuals, couples, and families to cultivate self-awareness and build healthier and meaningful relationships. In my practice, I employ a diverse blend of therapeutic modalities, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Mindfulness and Wellness practices, Existential Approaches, Narrative Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). These techniques are implemented within a safe, supportive environment where clients feel understood, valued, and empowered. I commit to working collaboratively with clients to develop constructive coping strategies, enabling them to unlock their fullest potential and create a life of balance, fulfillment, and meaning. I am passionate about helping individuals navigate their unique journeys toward healing and growth. Together, we can develop healthier relationships with ourselves and others, enhance our emotional resilience, and achieve positive coping mechanisms for a more authentic and fulfilling life. Through our work, you will gain the tools and insights needed to overcome challenges and embrace a more balanced, fulfilling life.
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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!