Autism Nursing Assignment Help
What is Autism?
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Atism is a developmental and neurobehavioral disorder complex. This disorder is characterized by 3 factors;
- Impaired Communication
- Impaired Social Interaction
- Repetitive/Restricted Behavior
The fact that autism falls under a spectrum range means that there are a variety of symptoms that patients experience. Together, these symptoms determine whether you fall under the spectrum or not. Before the first year of life, a diagnosis is not always guaranteed for children who fall under the Autism spectrum. It is during the ages of 18-24 months that symptoms start to manifest themselves hence, a diagnosis. According to research, autism is common in boys more than girls with an estimate of about 1 in 36 children.
Causes of Autism
The exact cause of autism is unknown. However, certain environmental and genetic factors affect brain development hence causing autism. With these factors, a person’s socioeconomic group, race, culture, or ethnicity do not matter. There are chances that identical twins are more prone to autism. Siblings on the other hand, have a 2%-8% risk of contracting this condition. Children born to older parents who also record low birth weights or those born before 33 weeks gestation are at an increased risk.
There are recent studies that show that exposure to viral and bacterial diseases during the second and third trimesters puts babies at risk. Additionally, exposing in utero babies to valproate, a common in treatment for bipolar disorder and epilepsy, puts them at risk. In addition, exposing babies and pregnant women to insecticides also puts the child at risk of autism.
Some of the earliest symptoms of autism are interaction difficulty and social communication but are not easy to notice. If keen, you will notice symptoms, such as; gaze patterns, inability to show interest, absent facial expression, excessive usage of gestures, and atypical attention.
As much as autism patients experience some common symptoms, it is important to note that each person communicates differently. Some people communicate relatively well, while others experience trouble communicating. Studies show that 40% of autistic children do not communicate at all.
It is true that some children between the ages of 12-18 months mildly communicate and then spontaneously stop communicating. Some autistic individuals exhibit what is known as echolalia; communication using single words and repetitive phrases of what others are saying.
Autism Behavioral Symptoms
In social settings, you may notice certain behavioral differences that autistic individuals exhibit. You may notice a person’s inability to comprehend personal space. Therefore, they tend to stand too close to others. Some may appear to be oblivious to the presence of other children others will be unresponsive when you call their name. You may also notice that some individuals are unable to comprehend the emotions of others, will have difficulty or avoid striking conversations altogether. This leads to strained relationships hence individuals preferring to keep to themselves.
When individuals in the autism spectrum are stressed, anxious, or frustrated, you will notice certain mannerisms, such as banging their heads, flapping hands, and moving in circles. They noticeably become distressed when taken to new environments since their ability to adapt is limited.
Management of Treatment of Autism
Management and treatment of autism usually start as soon as you diagnose the condition. They do this to help the individual cope and also manage the symptoms. In this case, you should expect a highly structured behavior-based treatment plan.
Treatment also includes counseling;
- For the child- to help them cope with the condition and their environment
- The parents. To help them follow through with the child’s home treatment
Therapy helps in specific areas such as; social skills development, language, sensory integration, speech and occupational integration. These are unique to each childs’ needs.
In addition to these therapy sessions, children may also be prescribed additional therapy sessions if they experience; delirious self-care, language loss, and delirious self-care. In this case, the children may require long-term care.
Children who experience disintegrative disorders will need specific sessions on medicine, behavior therapy, and environmental therapy.
This therapy employs sensory enrichment tactics that help to improve autism symptoms.
These sessions help the individual to re-learn language, social skills, and self-care. In order to encourage good behavior and discourage bad ones, these sessions incorporate the reward system. This is done by certified professionals hence ideal to be adopted by other health professionals; Caretakers, parents, and teachers can be trained to use this method as well.
There is no medication known to treat autism directly. However, there are certain medications that combat symptoms as they develop in different stages. For instance, antipsychotic drugs treat aggression and repetitive behavior patterns. On the other hand, stimulants, SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), and some antipsychotic drugs treat aggression and other problematic behaviors in individuals. For patients who are experiencing convulsions, anticonvulsants are prescribed.
Special Care for Autism
Nurses are encouraged to observe patient safety is and check for any form of abuse (sexual or physical) in the individuals. However, in certain instances, caregivers are encouraged to reach out and seek help. These situations include; when individuals are aggressive, angry, violent, paranoid, or irritable. It is the nurse’s and caregivers’ duty to monitor the child’s mood, behavior, and safety at all times.
Before discharging a child from a health facility, reinforcing certain steps is the key. Educating the family on the prognosis and all that this condition entails. Empowering the parents helps them feel in charge, and capable of handling their children at home. Also, a healthy diet is recommended.
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