What is ÇEGOMER?
What does it do?
ÇEGOMER, the Child and Adolescent Development & Autism Center, located at NP Feneryolu Medical Center, is a center where rehabilitation programs are created to support daily living, academic and social skills in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, specific learning disorder, communication disorder, intellectual disability, motor and tic disorders, and where developmental monitoring is conducted.
The center, which combines health and education, has programs such as early childhood program, preschool and school program, and home follow-up program. The early childhood program aims to provide early childhood education, communication and interaction skills, play skills, learning readiness skills, parent-child relationship, daily life skills such as nutrition, sleep, toilet, and sensory acquisition, with a team consisting of child and adolescent psychiatrist, special education teacher, sports movement education specialist, clinical psychologist, speech and language therapist, and expert occupational therapist.
The program, which can be planned as full or half day according to the child's needs, aims to promote participation in preschool and school programs, pre-academic and academic skills, managing daily living skills, self-care, play, productive and free time activities, social interaction and communication skills.
Autism spectrum disorder is a type of language and behavioral disorder that is either present from birth or develops throughout life and negatively impacts a person's overall quality of life. Early diagnosis and rehabilitation are critical in autism, which is considered a mental disorder. It manifests itself in the first three years of life through repeated behavioral symptoms. There is no specific treatment method to completely cure autism, but it is possible to minimize the impact on a person's ability to lead a quality life and integrate into the community. The use of various medication treatments and rehabilitation methods can be of great benefit in this regard.
Autism is referred to as a major neurodevelopmental disorder in which symptoms appear in early childhood. Atypical autism, on the other hand, is a disorder that is similar to autism in some respects but does not fall under any of the disorders on the spectrum of pervasive developmental disorders. Its severity is lower than that of autism, and in some cases it is even quite far from autism. Autism is 3-4 times more common in boys than in girls. The symptoms of autism may appear in some children at the early stages of development, while in others there may be regression or delay in normal development. Autism is suspected when a child's speech is delayed or he or she shows little interest in or response to his or her environment. Parents can consult a specialist if their child does not say words even though peers are speaking, or if he forgets single words like "mommy" or "daddy" that he used to say
What Are the Symptoms of Autism?
A baby born with autism is no different from a healthy baby in the first months of life. Of course, this is true only for the first few months. After a certain time, the symptoms appear. For a while after birth, there are no abnormalities in the baby. However, as the baby grows, symptoms of autism also appear. The symptoms of autism are determined by examining three areas. These are repetitive behaviors, communication, and social interaction. Autistic children show most of the symptoms listed below:
- In autism symptoms, inadequacies in social interaction and communication are observed.
- They may not make eye contact at all.
- They generally do not use gestures and facial expressions.
- They may not respond when their name is called or when spoken to.
- They may show indifference towards the attention of others, including family members.
- They may have difficulty in establishing and maintaining relationships with peers.
- Delays in language development and speech may be observed.
- They may show disinterest in play and activities.
- They may have difficulty in initiating and maintaining communication.
- They may be indifferent and uninterested in toys.
- They may be overly insistent and show reactions in routine activities.
- They may show extreme reactions towards changes and actions.
- They may assign different purposes and qualities to objects around them.
- They perform repetitive movements, such as spinning or rocking around themselves.
- They may have difficulty adjusting the tone of their voice when speaking.
- They may be overly active or completely inactive.
- They may be overly sensitive to situations that they can perceive with their five senses, such as sounds, light, pain, and smell.
- They may show intolerance to certain situations or behave differently in them.
- They may have an excessive interest in some unusual subjects.
Responsibility should be shared and not placed on just one partner during the child's special education period. Family members should support each other. For the child's language development, social adjustment, awareness within the family, and adaptation to the environment, the entire family should act together. The majority of children with this disorder have an intellectual disability. In addition, some of these children may also suffer from neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Therefore, the situations that families should pay attention to can be listed as follows:
- Absence of the pre-speech phase or lower sound production compared to peers at 6-9 months of age in infants.
- Lack of interest in caregiver's voice and face.
- Absence of eye contact and mutual smilies.
- No response to name.
- Lack of expectation to be picked up or play with other people.
- Unusual and intense interest in specific objects or their parts (examining objects by holding them close to the eye).
- In 20-47% of children with autism, regression begins after normal development beyond the first year of life.
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), also known as profound developmental disorder, is one of the neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. Symptoms generally appear in early childhood. Some children may experience developmental delays, while others may initially show normal development and later regress.
Although autism was defined as a rare disorder in the 1970s, it has been observed that its prevalence has increased significantly in the 2000s. According to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence was as low as 1/150 in 2006, while higher rates such as 1/64 were reported in 2014. When examining the reasons for the increase in autism frequency, it can be mentioned that awareness of the diagnosis has increased, cases with mild symptoms are not overlooked and evaluated within this group of disorders, and the frequency of becoming parents at a later age has increased. However, it is also suggested that there may be other unknown reasons for the increase in frequency.
Why Does Autism Occur?
The exact cause of autism is not yet fully understood. Several genes are thought to be responsible for the disorder, and efforts are underway to develop drugs that target genetic abnormalities in the treatment of the disease. These treatments are expected to produce positive results in some children with autism in the coming years.
According to studies conducted on twin children, it was found that this disorder is not exclusively dependent on genetic factors, nor is it exclusively related to environmental factors. According to all studies, it was found that this disorder occurs during meiosis. This means that every person carries the risk of developing autism from birth. Every person carries the genes that lead to this disorder at birth.
How is Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosed?
Autism spectrum disorder cannot be diagnosed by blood or urine tests or brain imaging. There are no abnormal processes in body fluids or tissues that can be used to diagnose the disorder. Diagnosis is based on clinical observation and behavioral characteristics. The first symptoms of autism usually appear at 2 years of age, but with careful clinical observation, symptoms can be detected in children as young as 1 year of age. It is not possible to detect autism in a fetus in the womb. Therefore, when parents receive an autism diagnosis for their child, they often ask how autism can be treated.
How is the Autism Spectrum Disorder Test Conducted?
Autism spectrum disorder includes a range of neurodevelopmental disorders indicative of problems such as classic autism, Asperger syndrome, or Rett syndrome. The test is performed in collaboration between the parents and the child's doctor.
The autism screening test, itis a test for children aged 4 and above and consists of 40 questions that cover communication skills and social structure.
In the screening test for 2-year-olds, imitation, attention control, play, and motor skills are observed.
How is Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevented?
It is not known how to prevent autism spectrum disorders, but there are several alternatives that can be used to better adapt daily life. Early diagnosis and timely intervention are one of the most effective methods. Early detection of autism can help promote children's movements, skills, and language development.
How is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated?
After the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, the family is informed about autism and the child receives an appropriate educational program as soon as possible. The most important educational method is applied behavior analysis, the effectiveness of which has been scientifically proven in the treatment of autism. In addition to individual education, recommended methods include age-appropriate speech therapy and sensory integration therapy. It is important that the family participates in the educational program and supports the child in social-emotional areas outside of education.
Currently, there is no effective medication treatment for the core symptoms of autism. However, for some children with autism who have accompanying symptoms such as attention deficits, behavior problems, sleep disturbances, and anger management difficulties, medication may be necessary.
Autism treatment is a disorder that must be continued for years, so it is critical for families to be informed. In a few cases, short-term and early education has been shown to completely eliminate the diagnosis. In most cases, long-term education is required. Normal intelligence, mild symptoms, and development of speech skills before age 6 are good prognostic indicators. Scientific studies have shown that methods such as nutritional therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, heavy metal detoxification, and neurofeedback are not effective. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to reduce autism symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with autism and their families. There is no medical test for autism. Diagnosis is made by observing how the child speaks and moves compared to other children of the same age. In this context, the effectiveness of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatment is being studied. The results of this research will shed light on how autism can be treated. There are many therapy methods that are used in the treatment of autism. These therapy methods can be listed as follows:
Sensory Integration Therapy: Sensory problems can interfere with a person's ability to engage in appropriate behavior, limit their ability to adapt to the environment, and make it difficult for them to perform activities of daily living, academic learning, and self-care. Recent studies have provided new insights into the treatment of autism. Using a complementary approach, sensory integration therapy can help improve behavior and facilitate the development and control of self-identity in individuals with autism. It provides therapeutic support to minimize these problems.
Auditory Integration Training (AIT): Auditory integration therapy involves determining which frequencies a child is overly sensitive to. During therapy sessions, the child is then played music through headphones that has been filtered to remove these frequencies. Research has shown that this method can reduce hypersensitivity to various sounds and behavioral problems.
Music therapy is a therapeutic approach that is applied by expert therapists through activities such as singing together, playing musical instruments, and similar exercises.
Music therapy helps the child develop emotional connections with expert therapists and other people through activities such as singing together, using musical instruments, or dancing. Using musical instruments, singing or dancing can help the child develop a sense of accomplishment.
Art therapy: In art therapy, plastic arts such as painting, ceramics, sculpture etc. serve as a means for the individual to express themselves. The aim is to provide emotional happiness for the individual. Art therapy aims to enable the individual to express their emotions and thoughts that they cannot express in different ways through artistic works.
Dramatherapy: The main purpose of dramatherapy is to help people with their emotional development and self-expression by engaging in activities such as role-playing, storytelling, and other performing arts. During drama therapy, non-existent movements are transformed into various creative behaviors. The goal of therapy is to enhance the creativity of the individual. Various play methods are used to build relationships with people by using objects as tools.
Animal therapies: In the therapy applied to children with autism, interaction is attempted to be established between the child and the animal. The aim is to achieve sensory development. There are many different types of applications. In ongoing studies on these therapies, it is believed that they may be useful in reducing the anxiety and stress levels of children with autism.
Mild, moderate, and severe levels of autism
The common developmental disorder that develops from the first 2 years of life is called autism. Individuals diagnosed with autism exhibit symptoms such as difficulty understanding social relationships, problems with language development, inconsistencies in mental functioning, and insensitivity to sensory responses. Any of these symptoms may be observed, or only some may be present. The expression of autism varies from person to person, as symptoms are observed at different levels in each individual. Therefore, the autism education given to each person is not the same. We can list the types of autism for more detailed information as follows:
Asperger Syndrome: It is referred to as a neurological disorder that makes communication difficult for individuals. This type of autism does not cause regression in language and mental development. Individuals with this condition do not experience any weakness in grammar, vocabulary, or verbal abilities. However, weaknesses can be observed in visual and perceptual areas.
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: In children with this condition, normal development is observed for at least 2 years. However, once the disorder starts, the acquired skills and abilities are rapidly lost. Along with the mental skill regression, intellectual disability is also seen in this type of autism.
Atypical Autism: In addition to difficulty in speech, ongoing conversations, social problems, and developmental disorders are observed in this type of autism. Symptoms appear early in life. However, in some cases, it may not be possible to make a definitive diagnosis. Problems that arise can be eliminated with good education. Atypical autism is the most suitable type for treatment.
Rett Syndrome: It is a genetic autistic spectrum disorder that occurs in girls. It occurs in the first 5 months after birth, and head growth slows down. However, it manifests itself with repetitive hand movements. Over time, personal skills are declined. This disease, which occurs with conditions such as medication and attention deficit, can respond positively to behavioral education and special therapies.
Symptoms and Signs in Both Genders
This condition is more common in boys than in girls. Autism signs in boys and girls are of two types. First, we can name autism signs in the area of social communication and interaction. Here, the child is expected to recognize his family, make eye contact, and respond when called. However, children with autism remain unresponsive in such situations. Another type of autism sign can be described as repetitive movements and behaviors. These behaviors include movements such as twirling around or rocking back and forth. For boys and girls to be diagnosed with autism, they must also show certain signs in early childhood. Sometimes these signs are not noticed until the child reaches school age.
When children show these signs of autism, it is crucial that they are examined by a specialist to obtain an early diagnosis. The child should be examined by a specialist and treatment should be initiated immediately. After the symptoms are examined and a diagnosis is made, the primary responsibility rests with the family and educators. Autism is supported by special education. At this stage, it is important for couples to work together as much as possible, not blaming each other and trying to remain calm.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the life expectancy of individuals with autism?
Research has found that people with autism are more likely to have health problems in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. This situation may increase the risk of early mortality. Over a 20-year period, 6.4% of those with autism died at an average age of 39.
What are the behavioral characteristics of individuals with autism?
People with autism are highly obsessed with routine and order. They can become aggressive when their regular routines are disrupted. They also exhibit repetitive behaviors such as hand movements, jumping, and twirling around. They do not behave like typical children.
How Does Autism Spectrum Disorder Affect Social Communication?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), also known as OSB, is a disorder that affects how people perceive others and communicate, leading to problems in social interaction and communication. It is caused by differences in brain development.
What Happens If Autism is Left Untreated?
Autism affects children's social life and causes them to stay away from social contact. If left untreated, children become unsociable and introverted. Even the smallest interaction in their lives can send them into an aggressive state.
The earliest symptom of social interaction problems in autistic children is a lack of eye contact. In this case, the child does not make eye contact with the other person or begins to avoid eye contact after a short time. Another important characteristic is problems with language development.