Autism and Anxiety
Autism and anxiety are two conditions that should not be confused. The term autism is given to describe a broad range of social and communication disorders that are often seen in young children who do not have a formal diagnosis. Anxiety on the other hand is usually associated with panic attacks and phobias and can occur in adults, children and adults. We’ll try to help you understand what is autism and anxiety so you can find the appropriate treatment for your child.
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by mild deficits in language, cognition, social interaction and non-verbal communication. It affects nearly one out of every 68 children in the United States. Autism in children can come about due to a variety of reasons. Genetics may play a role in autism or it may occur because of a history of physical abuse, asphyxia, chemical exposure, birth defects, infections and low birth weight. A mother’s prenatal environment may also play a major role in a child’s development.
Anxiety on the other hand is a very common condition in children, and it often involves generalized fears, phobias and obsessive compulsive behaviors. Though Autism occurs in all groups of people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or gender, anxiety in children can occur for any number of reasons. While some individuals experience anxiety because of serious mental illness, others are afraid of germs, heights, over heights or that they may fall or hurt themselves. Some are afraid of public speaking or school excursions and are anxious about staying ahead of their peers.
Autism and anxiety can manifest themselves in many different ways and can affect a child’s ability to learn. As a parent, you can do your best to make your child’s life easier by giving them lots of patience and understanding, learning new things with each day, setting clear goals for them, and providing variety. It is very important to have constant and consistent communication between you and your child to ensure that the effects of Autism and anxiety do not interfere with the process of communication and learning. You should visit your child’s doctor regularly and not wait until something feels wrong. It is very important to identify symptoms early on to avoid long-term consequences. Many times your child will be afraid of things they had no idea they were afraid of.
Autism and anxiety in children have many different causes. Once diagnosed, the type of treatment you choose will be specific to the severity of your child’s autism.
In Autism, medical conditions and infections may cause the autism to occur. For example, Infections or cuts to the scalp may be the cause of Autism. Another reason for Autism is hyperactivity. Stimulants are often prescribed for children with autism to help control their hyperactivity.
Anxiety in children can come from fears and phobias. These fears may occur because of a mental illness or because of an unsafe environment.
Children may suffer from childhood phobias and can even develop obsessions and compulsions as an adult. Unfortunately, most children with Autism and anxiety will never speak out about their childhood fears and may carry these anxieties with them into adulthood.
Treatment of Autism and anxiety is also necessary because the disorder itself is quite misunderstood. People have been misdiagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome or autistic disorder, when in fact the child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. There is no single cause of Autism, so the exact cause of autism in children is unknown. There are however, many factors that have been proven to be associated with autism in children.
Social or communication impairments are commonly found in children with Autism and are often caused by problems in their brain, due to a deficit in their brain’s ability to understand and interpret various social cues. Other types of autism involve abnormalities in brain cells that control behavior. Brain damage is also possible in those who have autism.
You will want to do your best to help your child cope with the challenges of Autism and anxiety. Remember that Autism is a wide spectrum of medical conditions and is not just associated with autism in children.