What autism is
Autism is a disorder that embraces impairment in cognition, perception, language acquisition and social behavior. A person diagnosed as autistic usually possesses the following traits:
  • likes to be alone and ignores the presence of other people; refuses to have eye or body contact with other people
  • repeats some movements endlessly, such as hand flapping and twirling
  • responds to a stimulus in an inappropriate way, either too weakly (minimal response) or too strongly (screaming, jumping, running, etc.)
  • insists on daily routine and play arrangements
  • shows severe deficits in verbal communication

Cause
Autism is caused by dysfunctions of systems in the brain. Environmental or psychological factors have nothing to do with it. As regards what goes wrong in the brain and what causes these defects, it is still uncertain to date.


Treatment
Medicine is not a helpful treatment for autism. The major therapies administered are behaviour management and language training. It may also be useful to encourage autistic children to make contact with other people and communicate with them.


Attitude and skills to deal with autistic people
  • discard prejudices and learn about them in an objective manner
  • accept and respect them
  • allow them to have things in the ways they want if that is all right
  • as they often use bodily movements to express their feelings, it will be helpful to take note of their body language and find out the meaning with care and patience
  • when talking to them, use simple, exact and clear words, slacken the speed and ask them to look at you; it is also advisable to take their hands or pat their heads to show friendliness
  • keep reward and punishment clear and distinct - praise and reward be given for desirable behavior, immediate punishment be given for undesirable behavior