In the US, 1 out of 68 children breathes with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the frequency of ASD appears to have vividly increased since 2000, when 1 out of 150 children have their diagnosis. As a developmental disability, ASD causes “significant social, communication, and behavioral trials.” While researchers continue to unlock the secrets of ASD, behavioral health methods must work to help parents and caregivers of children understand this disorder’s insinuations for daily activities and behaviors basis, including impact on the circadian rhythm, cognitive abilities, and treatment styles.
Behavioral Impact of Autism
Children and teens with ASD may refrain from exhibiting the typical behaviors of children. Per the CDC, children with ASD may show the following signs and symptoms:
- Avoiding eye contact.
- Not appearing engaged when interacting with others.
- Having trouble in understanding the feelings of others.
- Preference to avoid contact, such as being held or cuddled.
- Repeating phrases or words in place of typical language.
- Havingtrouble speaking.
- Repeating actions multiple times.
- Having unusual responses to sensory perception of things.
- Exhibitingaggression, irritability, or inattention.
- Having trouble in adjusting to changes in routine, such as a change in sleeping habits may cause behavioral impact.
Adults are not outsiders to how changes in environment can damagingly impact sleeping patterns, the circadian rhythm. Sleep deprivation has been shown to decrease cognitive responsiveness and functioning, explains Len Kravitz, Ph.D. of the University of New Mexico. Yet, new research advises the link between quality of sleep in children with autism may be more essentially linked to behavioral problems during the day.
Autism and Sleep
Children and teens with autism may be more likely to knowledge trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking early. Psychologist Micah Mazurek and Dr. Kristin Sohl, pediatrician, found increased sleep problems in children with autism often coincided with increased interactive problems during the day. For children and teens who experienced high levels of sleeplessness or difficulty when sleeping, the incidence of behavioral problems, especially violence and hyperactivity, grew the most.
“It’s important that individuals with ASD are routinely screened for underlying medical conditions, including sleep disturbances.”
Autism is incurable, and researchers have yet to find a conclusive, biological test to analysis cases of ASD. The diagnosis is now reached by studying a child’s behaviors and health progress. Although a diagnosis may be made early at age 2, many kids are not diagnosed until later during childhood, such as when reaching school-going age. A sooner diagnosis equates to the earlier use of treatment methods to lessen the disorder’s evolving impact.
Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis
Treatment of autism may include actions and communication therapies, dietary specialist care and regulation, medication cure, and the use of corresponding and alternative medicine.
The link between autism and applied behavior analysis (ABA) seems to hold the most promise. ABA teaches positive behaviors and dampens negative actions in a healthy environment. This is skillful using values and support.
ABA may also be broken down into four categories, per the CDC, which contain the following below:
- Discrete trial training (DTT)breaks down complex behaviors into their simplest steps, and positive reinforcement is used to reward truthful behaviors and answers. Negative support of ignoring behavior is used when the incorrect behaviors or answers are exhibited or given.
- Early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI)refers to the use of ABA for children younger than 5-years-old.
- Pivotal response training (PRT)educates children with ASD to monitor their own behaviors and starts to dialogs with others. Thus, the impact of this type of ABA should extend to other behaviors. For instance, a child in PRT may attempt to “go back to sleep” when waking up early without meddling from parents or caregivers.
- Verbal behavior intervention (VBI)imparts children with ASD verbal skills and for further encouragement to focuses of PRT and DTT.
Each state has a technique in place to help the parents of children under age 3 attain early handling services, including the therapies, via the US Department of Education.
Certain medications may help manage hyperactivity or sadness in children and teens with ASD; however, these medications are incapable to treat the primary indications of the disorder.
Some health experts may advocate for dietary variations in children and teens with ASD. For example, a diet with a lessen water or any liquid intake after 6:00 p.m. may help to reduce waking while sleeping. Most dietary changes focus on refining overall health, which may help reduce any rate of ASD symptoms and behaviors.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Complementary and alternative medicine, otherwise known as CAM therapy, explains the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, states to the use of non-traditional approaches of treating a given disease. These means may include the use of herbal supplements, acupuncture, yoga, breathing exercises, and deerlike therapy. Up to 33 percent of parents and caregivers use CAM therapy to help with ASD. However, some of these remedies can be dangerous, such as a toxicity due to herbal supplementation of the diet and adverse relations between supplements and medications. Behavioral health training should include a focus on the standing of discussing CAM therapies with a child’s pediatrician and psychologist prior to starting any therapy.