Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), formerly known as autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that is often diagnosed and recognised in the early stages of childhood. Individuals with ASD do not act and communicate in a manner deemed to be the norm. Their abilities vary from one person to another, as some individuals may be highly capable in holding an advanced conversation, while others may be more non-verbal in nature.


The severity of ASD symptoms in a child is difficult to determine due to every child with ASD having their own unique mixture of symptoms. However, one of the most prominent signs of autism is difficulties in social communication and interaction skills. Among the characteristics are:

  • Avoiding/unable to maintain eye contact
  • Lack of response to their name
  • Displaying indifference in attitude towards caregivers
  • Unable to understand simple questions or directions
  • Appears to be unaware of the feelings of others


The diagnosis of ASD can be challenging as there is not definitive medical test to help diagnose the disorder. During regular check-ups, your child’s doctor will usually look for signs that highlight developmental delays. Should the number of symptoms detected indicate the possibility of ASD, a referral will be provided to consult with medical specialists who treat children with ASD such as a paediatrician, , developmental paediatrician, psychiatrist, child and adolescent psychiatrist and clinical psychologist.

Due to the lack of medical tests available to determine the nature of ASD, medical specialist may instead:

  • Provide tests for your child that cover:
    • Hearing
    • Speech
    • Language
    • Social and behavioural issues
  • Observe your child and enquire about their recent developmental progress
  • Scoring performance of child with structured social and communication interactions


As of now, no definite cure is available for the permanent treatment of ASD. However, there are forms of treatment available that aim to help maximise the child’s ability to function better through the reduction of ASD symptoms and helping to support development and learning.

Some of the options include:

  • Behavioural and Communication Therapy
  • Educational Therapies
  • Medications

Growing up, children with ASD may even experience other problems such as

  • Medical health issues
  • Transition problems to adulthood
  • Other mental health disorders

If your child has ASD, do note that they will eventually compensate for their problems throughout life and continue to learn as they grow, but will still require some level of support from you and others they feel a close connection to. Plan for their future and help them grow into the best version of themselves.

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