- According to the WHO, one in 160 children globally has Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by deficiency in social communication and interaction, usually appearing before 12 months and three years.
- Their care requires multidisciplinary treatment involving family physicians, paediatricians, speech therapists, speech therapists, early stimulation experts, and psychologists.
For people living with autism, the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) provides language, socialization, motor, psychological, behavioral and environmental therapies. In this way, the main objective is to improve their quality of life and interaction with society.
The head of the Clinical Department of Psychiatry of the Psychiatric Hospital with Family Medicine Unit (UMF) No. 10, Angélica Araceli Aquino Sosa, explained “that in most cases people with this clinical condition have an intellectual and social disability.”
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a brain disorder and not a disease
under the International Autism Awareness Daywhich is commemorated every April 2, the specialist indicated that based on the treatment, it is about minimizing this impact so that the person living with autism improves verbal and non-verbal communication skills, as well as optimizing their development and well-being.
He explained that the Autism is not a disease, but a brain disorder that affects their social, behavioral, and communication skills. People living with autism begin to show signs at a young age.
He indicated that at 2 or 3 years of age, the clearest indication of autism is the delay in verbal language.
Treatment offered by the IMSS to patients with autism
Dr. Aquino Sosa pointed out that the diagnosis consists of an evaluation and detailed clinical history of the patient who is suspected of living with autism, primarily of development and behavior.
He pointed out that the first interventions with the patient are carried out by the family doctor when they go to their monthly visit of the boy or girl who is suspected of living with autism, in order to have an early diagnosis and intervention.
Later, he said, they are sent to the Pediatric service to carry out the tests and confirm the diagnosis, so that the treatment can be carried out together with specialists in Neuropediatrics or Child Psychiatry (or paidopsychiatry). They will be the ones who provide patient care in coordination with language rehabilitators, speech therapists, early stimulation experts and psychological treatment.
Although autism is not treated with drugs, medical care is also directed at treating comorbidities, such as anxiety, behavioral disorders (self or hetero aggressiveness), sleep disturbances, attention and concentration problems and even eating. Only in these cases it is possible to affect with medicines.
He commented that in the IMSS to patients living with autism Individualized attention is given to them to also ensure proper functioning at a social, family, academic, and work level, and to make them independent.
He stressed that autism does not have a specific origin, although several factors may come together such as genetic disorders, complications during pregnancy, a history of mental illness in the family and substance use, to name a few.
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