A child's behavior can be a crucial indicator for detecting signs of autism. Behavioral issues that may signal the presence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) include:
- Intense Temper Tantrums: Extreme and difficult-to-control emotional reactions.
- Fixation on a Single Topic or Task: Obsessive and exclusive interest in specific activities.
- Short Attention Span: Difficulty maintaining concentration on various activities.
- Very Restricted Interests: Limitation in the variety of interests and activities.
- Hyperactivity or Excessive Passivity: Abnormal levels of energy, either excessive or insufficient.
- Aggressiveness or Self-Harm: Behaviors that can be harmful to themselves or others.
- Need for Unchangeability: Great anxiety or discomfort in response to changes in their environment or routine.
- Repetition of Body Movements: Repetitive movements such as rocking or hand-flapping.
The frontal lobe of the brain, primarily responsible for behavior, can be affected in its development and connections, leading to erratic or primitive behaviors. These alterations can generate unexpected situations. Early identification of these warning signs is crucial for seeking appropriate medical assistance.
It's important to distinguish that, although tumors compressing the frontal areas of the brain can produce psychiatric-like symptoms in adults, they are not related to autism. This point highlights the complexity and significance of the frontal lobe in behavior regulation.
Additionally, the HOXA1 gene, which plays a critical role in the development of important brain structures, cranial nerves, the ear, and the head and neck skeleton, has been associated with ASD. Genetic advances in this field allow for the anticipation of autism through the analysis of unmodified genetic data, turning them into useful reports for early detection. In the next episode, I will talk more about the most relevant findings.
Doctor José Moya says: Understanding and recognizing these signs in children is vital for parents, caregivers, educators, and doctors, allowing for early and effective intervention in cases of autism. In the following example, he shows the importance of knowledge: if a child displays erratic behavior, hugging them to calm them down may be counterproductive as they might find physical contact overwhelming, causing them further distress.