Autism – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Autism is a type of developmental disorder in children that affects cognitive, language, behavior, communication and social interaction. This will also affect the development of children with special needs, both physically and mentally.

Autism can happen to anyone without any difference in social status, economy, education, ethnicity, or nation. The incidence of autism is increased if there are disturbances during pregnancy and childbirth. The incidence of autism increases rapidly over time with extensive and multifactoral risk factors. Autism is a behavioral syndrome with reported prevalence; 10 per 10 thousand and estimated 4: 1 male compared to female.

Causes of Autism

The cause of autism is still a debate and is still an ongoing research update. In addition, the differences from each study cause the cause of autism is still unclear

  • Psychogenic influences as a cause of autism: Emotional, rigid, and obsessive parents who care for their children in a space that is emotionally less warm or even cold
  • Birth of the first or 4th child
  • An infection during pregnancy
  • Babies don’t cry at birth
  • The existence of respiratory disorders in children at birth
  • Fetal anemia
  • Smoking habits in the mother or exposure to cigarette smoke when pregnant women
  • There are families who also experience autism.

Characteristics of Autistic Children

Social interactions in children with autism are divided into three groups, the following symptoms of autism that arise in children:

  • Aloof: Many are seen in children who withdraw, are indifferent, and will be upset when a social approach is carried out and show behavior and attention that is limited (not warm).
  • Passive: Can accept a social approach and play with other children if the pattern of the game is adjusted to him.
  • Active but strange: Will spontaneously approach other children, but this interaction is often inappropriate and often only one-sided.

Social barriers in children with autism will change according to age development. Usually, as we get older the barriers seem to decrease.

Barriers to Autistic Children when Playing

Qualitative barriers in verbal and nonverbal communication when playing. Delays and abnormalities in language and speech are common complaints, raised by parents, about 50 percent experience this:

  • Muttering that usually appears before you can say the words, might not appear in autism.
  • They often do not understand the words directed at them.
  • Usually they do not show or use bodily movements to convey their keiginan, but by taking the hands of his parents to take the object in question.
  • Experiencing difficulties in understanding the meaning of words as well as difficulties in using language in an appropriate and correct context.
  • That one word has many meanings may be difficult for them to understand.
  • Autistic children often repeat the words they have just heard or have heard before without the intention to communicate.
  • When you ask often use pronouns people turn around, like “I” to “you” and call yourself as “you.”
  • They often talk to themselves and repeat pieces of words or songs from television and say it in front of other people in an atmosphere that is not appropriate.
  • Strange or figurative usage, like a child saying “nine” every time he sees a train.
  • Autistic children also experience difficulties in communicating even though they can speak well, because they do not know when it is their turn to talk, choose the topic of conversation or look at the other person.
  • They will keep repeating the question even if they already know the answer or extend the conversation about a topic they like without caring about the other person.
  • His speech is often monotonous, stiff, and boring.
  • They are also difficult to adjust the volume of speech.
  • Difficulties in expressing feelings or emotions through tone of voice
  • Non-verbal communication also experiences interference.

Limited Activities and Interests of Children with Autism

  • Abnormalities in play are seen in children with autism, as in most stereotypes, are repeated, and are not creative. Some children do not use their toys properly, and their ability to replace an object with other similar objects is often inappropriate.
  • Autistic children reject changes in the environment and new routines.
  • They also often force parents to repeat a word or snippet.
  • In terms of interests: Limited, often strange, and repeated. For example they often waste hours just playing lights, twirling bottles, or memorizing train routes.
  • They may be difficult to separate from an unusual object and refuse to leave the house without it, for example a boy who always carries a vacuum cleaner wherever he goes.
  • Stereotypes appear in almost all autism children, including jumping up and down, playing the fingers in front of their eyes, shaking their bodies or smirking.
  • They also like rotating objects, such as observing the spin of a fan or washing machine.

Autism treatment

The goal of therapy in autism disorders is to reduce behavioral problems and improve learning and development abilities, especially in the use of language. This goal can be achieved well through a comprehensive and individual therapy program, where special education and speech therapy are important components.

An integrated work team consisting of educators, medical staff (psychiatrists and pediatricians), psychologists, speech therapists, social workers and nurses, is needed to be able to detect early, and provide appropriate and timely treatment. The earlier it is detected and gets the right treatment, the optimal results can be achieved.

In learning languages, children more easily develop their ability to communicate if the focus is talking about things that exist in everyday life. In some children it can be tried by practicing sign language. Likewise in practicing social skills, reciprocal relationships, understanding social rules, focusing attention when in a group, and the ability to work in the ways taught by their mentors, are problems that are likely to be successfully achieved in programs for adolescents and young adult.

In one study it was said, with intensive therapy for 1-2 years, this young child could succeed in increasing intelligence quotient (IQ) and its adaptation function was higher than the group of children who did not receive intensive therapy. At the end of therapy, about 42 percent can enter public school. A lot of aggressiveness is found in children with special needs, requires specific handling, namely:


  • Teach communication skills (non-verbal)
  • Improve social skills (with demonstrations)


  • Endocrinology consultation – To overcome sexual aggressiveness
  • Neurological consultation – To rule out temporal lobe spasms and hypothalamic syndrome
  • Environment – The environment must be safe, orderly and responsive


  • Check expected academic achievements
  • Record reactions from friends
  • Try reducing demands and changes
  • Consultation with experts.


  • How is family acceptance of children (parents and siblings)
  • Record the demands on the child and try to reduce every change in routine
  • Space restrictions are important
  • Consult with experts.

Awaken confidence in children:

  • Help your child practice self-control: Stop, look and listen
  • Practice relaxation exercises: Breathe deeply or listen to music
  • Teach to detect danger.

Develop a variety of skills in lieu of aggressiveness, such as social skills, communication, cooperation, using leisure time, and recreation. Reduce sudden changes in routine. The family should have a plan for what is expected of the child at home.

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