Autism, a neurological disorder affecting 3% of India’s population, is getting attention from experts at the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP).

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) arises from brain function variations, leading to repetitive habits, limited interests, and difficulties in social communication.

Experts delve into the condition and offer guidance on spotting signs early.

Diagnosing autism before 24 months is challenging, but symptoms typically surface between 12 and 18 months.

Dr. Vijay Sharma, Associate Director & Head of Paediatrics & Paediatric Neurology at Asian Hospital, Faridabad, emphasizes that individuals with ASD may vary in learning, movement, and attention span.

Signs include avoiding eye contact, lack of response to name calling, and indifference to familiar voices.

“Children with autism don’t track your gestures, like pointing, waving goodbye, or using other communication signals,” explains Dr. Sharma.

Early detection is crucial for facilitating learning and development, adds the expert.

Dr. Aarushi Dewan, Clinical Psychology Consultant at Aakash Healthcare, New Delhi, notes that autistic children struggle with social interactions, showing little interest in people, abnormal eye contact, and minimal affection for family.

Communication challenges manifest as delayed language learning, lack of motivation to communicate, and peculiar vocalizations.

Dr. Dewan highlights repetitive activities and motor abnormalities, such as finger flicking and hyperactivity, along with sensory sensitivities.

“Specialist therapy can rewire the brain and alleviate symptoms, with early diagnosis leading to better outcomes,” advises Dr. Sharma.