Dr Aman PS Sohal is a U.K Board certified Consultant Autism Doctor in Dubai with over 11 years of experience in Pediatrics which includes more than six years of experience as a Consultant in Pediatric Neurology.
Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common entity encountered in the Pediatric Neurology clinic. Some recent studies suggest that up to 1 in 68 children may have Autism. classically, ASD is diagnosed around 5 years of age, but the signs and symptoms can be recognized as early as 2 years of age.
ASD can present with varied symptoms which include, poor response by the child when called, lack of pointing towards objects of interest, poor eye contact, abnormal speech patterns e.g repetition of words. If a child is not speaking, or has "lost gained words" at 2 years of age, a behavioural assessment should be carried out to see if the child needs early intervention for a working diagnosis of ASD. Children with ASD have extreme lack of interest in their surroundings, peers and like to stay "in a world of their own"
The diagnosis of ASD is usually carried out by an experienced Child Neurologist, Psychologist or Neuro-Developmental Pediatrician. The assessment to diagnose ASD can be tedious and occasionally the clinician decides to "break it up" into few sessions to ensure the child is completely engaged during the diagnostic assessments.
The management of ASD involves "Early intervention approach" which involved various specialized professionals including Behaviour analyst, Behavioural Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech therapy etc. In older children Clinical Psychologist and Child Psychiatrist may also be needed in case the child needs medications to manage extreme behaviours.