“Autism offers a chance for us to glimpse an awe-filled vision of the world that might otherwise pass us by.” – Dr. Colin Zimbleman

A few decades ago, Autism was vaguely associated with intellectual impairments, a lack of the capacity to socially engage, and in some cases, even an inability to verbalize. The spectrum, today, is pretty solid in terms of how it is delineated, and can be gauged using measurement tools such as the CARS. Despite the amount of research conducted in the realm of Autism Spectrum Disorder, there hasn’t been a way to genetically detect the presence of ASD. However, it is widely believed that the disorder is associated with the advanced age of  caregivers, genetic factors.

The behaviorally rooted diagnostic process often makes the identification of ASD a bit tricky. It’s often difficult to tell if a child is acting out or repressing, or whether a congenital difficulty is present, especially at young ages. Reduced eye contact and a non-reaction to one’s own name are early signs of Autism. The onset of Autism in its full-fledged form is seen around 2 years, with children sometimes losing most of their linguistic skills, or becoming withdrawn. Every child is so different that the behavior patterns typical to Autism are pretty varied.

Image: Hepingting on Flickr

The hyper connectivity of the Autistic brain in the occipital (region for vision) and parietal (hearing)leads Autistic children to often become absorbed into screens. With digitization, the potential for such problematic media use is quite rampant. This affinity for visual and auditory media proves that the Autistic brain can process these aspects of our senses a lot faster than the regular, typical brain. This makes systems of teaching such as the Picture Exchange Communication System particularly effective for kids with Autism. Pictures are associated with words in this method, and this enables children to visually process the images shown to them, in order to learn how to verbalize them.

Here’s some developmental milestones to keep in mind when deciding whether to go to a doctor:


  • If the child is not able to expressively respond to speech by 6 months

  • If the child does not mimic your expressions by 9 months

  • If the child doesn’t babble and feign speech by 12 months

  • If the child doesn’t point towards what they want by by 14 months

  • Isn’t able to utter words in isolation or as a single word by 16 months

  • If the child cannot pretend-play meaningfully by 18 months

  • If the child hasn’t verbalized in tiny phrases by by 24 months

  • If the child regresses in linguistic skill at any age

There’s no permanent cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder, and it must be moderated and kept in control throughout the lifespan. Therapy can involve art therapy or sound therapy in order to reduce the sensitivity of the child to sound and color. Occupational therapy is believed to help Autism Spectrum Disorder through the engagement of the child with texture, sound, color, motor competence, and behavioral advancements. Acupuncture is another method often used to induce relaxation, but it hasn’t really been medically proven to work towards directly alleviating symptoms.

Michael McWatters’ visual explanation of Autism. Mcwatters is a graphic designer who’s son was diagnosed with ASD.
Image: Michael McWatters

The typical Autistic child is often lost in wonder, which is why they are, in the classical sense, truly abled in a special way. They have the ability to process the world in a different way. It just takes a little push to turn them into individuals that can vocalize their thoughts in a constructive manner.