Seen a child repeating something constantly, playing on his own and seeming detached from the sorrounding. Well, these could very well be subtle pointers of a group of neurodevelopmental disorders known as autism spectrum disorders.
For anyone who has an autistic child in the family, he/she knows how hard it is to cope up with the social, sensory, emotional and even cognitive demands of the child. But there is also a baggage of medical conditions the child is more prone to suffer from, knowledge of which can help the family deal with him in a better way.
Two most common conditions that occur in autistic children are seizures and epilepsy. As compared to an incidence of 1-2% in the normal population, autistic population shows an incidence of as high as 10-30%. Majority of these kids start experiencing seizures after the age of 10 years, and it is postulated that a high fat diet could help in reducing these seizures.
The other most affected part is sleep. About 80% of patients are known to suffer from sleep disorders. They have a great difficulty in falling asleep and often wakeup repeatedly in the middle of night. This usually happens because they are often troubled with anxiety and depression more than the counter normal population. Simple steps can help the patient sleep well. Try to keep the bedroom dark and cool when its time to bed. Try to fix a daily routine. Do not allow your child to watch television or any other electronic gadget during late evening hours. Restrict caffeine intake and ensure a 30 minute exercise daily.
Lastly, it’s the GI (gastrointestinal) upset that adds to the trouble. Autistic patients commonly suffer from diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, vomiting and acid reflux. Certain symptoms like excessive coughing, difficulty swallowing food and excessive chewing indicate a GI issue. Dietary allergies and consumption of processed foods could be the triggers, so should best be avoided in diet. Also, adding probiotics and fiber to diet helps.
Other lesser common conditions include headache, asthma, skin conditions like eczema and autoimmune disorders.
To summarize, the key to solving all associated troubles in autistic children is to be aware of them and deal with every issue positively and patiently.