Autism in Children: Clinical Features, Management and Challenges
Background: The prevalence of autism world-wide is estimated to be between 1 per 91-110 children. Awareness in the USA and many other developed countries is relatively high and increasing, information on this condition in Nigeria among the public and the medical community is sparse.
Objective: This paper highlights the clinical features and management of autism. It also discusses current challenges of autism and its management.
Method: Data was sourced from literature in world health organization (WHO) and published articles on autism and internet Medline publications.
Results: Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, unusual repetitive or severely limited activities and interests. The impact of these behaviors can range from mild to disabling. Autism affects all races, ethnic groups and socioeconomic levels, the exact cause is unknown and there is no cure for it. Management is multidisciplinary including educational therapy, psychotherapy, drug treatment amongst others. The combined problems of malaria, malnutrition, pneumonia, HIV/AIDS and other infectious illnesses may be masking emphasis on this neurodevelopmental condition.
Conclusions: Autism is a common neurodevelopmental disorder worldwide. Management of the condition is challenging. Creating awareness, improving skills in its diagnosis and optimal management will promote better outcome in affected children.
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