Mgr. Hana Celušáková, PhD.
Autism (from the Greek autos = itself) is a neurodevelopmental, genetically determined, phenotypically very heterogeneous disease with an early onset, mostly before the third year of life. It is a pervasive – transcendent and influential throughout the whole neurodevelopment – disease that fundamentally affects an individual’s development, not only in the field of social communication and interaction, but also fundamentally disrupts her/his speech and cognitive abilities and adaptive behaviour, his functioning in the family, in a peer group, at school, at work and in all other important aspects of life.
It is characterized by the presence of:
These deficits are sometimes also referred to as autism triad of impairments. Autism spectrum disorders are often accompanied by delayed or impaired speech development and more often are also accompanied by impaired cognitive development.
Autism spectrum disorders are characterized by persistent deficits:
The onset of the disorder occurs during development, usually in early childhood, but symptoms may not fully manifest until later when social demands exceed limited capacity. Deficits are severe enough to impair personal, family, social, educational, work or other important functional areas and are usually a ubiquitous (pervasive) feature of an individual’s functioning. They are observable in all situations ,although they may vary according to social, educational or other contexts. Individuals show a wide range of intellectual functioning and language skills.
Perhaps the strongest reason for intensive research in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders is the steady increase in their prevalence over the last three decades.
The seriousness of a child’s lifelong disability, but also of his or her family, highlights the need to deepen our knowledge about the disease. The growing body of knowledge, in turn, opens up the need to redefine the understanding of the disease and its diagnostic criteria.
Along with the growing number of diagnosed children, the question of how to work effectively with these children, so that they can make full use of and develop their abilities, is becoming equally urgent .
Compared to the neurotypical population, individuals with ASD are more often affected by other somatic diseases such as asthma, eczema, or gastrointestinal problems. gastrointestinal problems. Very often, ASD is accompanied by other developmental disorders and psychiatric comorbidities, such as ADHD, anxiety disorders, mood disorders. They increasingly need support services and therapeutic interventions, GP care, but also emergency and hospitalization. Care can fundamentally affect the functioning of the family and the parent’s ability to work in addition to caring for a child with ASD, increasing the time and financial burden, even exhaustion of parents.