Why does an autistic child stop talking?

Early Childhood Autism (1) - How Behavior Therapy Help At A Young Age

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If a child does not start to speak, if they show little interest in their surroundings, prefer to stay alone than make contact, then childhood autism may be the cause. A special behavior therapy helps to reduce development losses.

Author: Martina Lichtsteiner

Children with an autistic disorder are severely impaired in their development, which outsiders do not necessarily recognize at first glance. Most affected parents, however, notice unusual behavior and developmental disorders in their child at an early age. There are mainly three core areas that are disturbed in early childhood autism.

  • Lack of interest in relationships with people: the child does not listen to its own name, does not make eye contact, does not react to the voice of its parents even as an infant, shows little interest in people, in sharing and exchanging ideas; prefer to be alone, appear distant, "strange"; it cries without calling its parents, does not want to be kissed or hugged. It does not enter into a real relationship with the social environment.
  • Impaired language development: the child hardly begins to speak, or speaks with a delay or in an abnormal manner. He takes the adult's hand and points it at a desired object instead of saying something. About half of the children affected do not develop language.
  • Conspicuous play behavior: The child shows no interest in playing together, his play behavior is restricted, repetitive, not very flexible, he is mainly devoted to certain objects or parts, one-sided fascination with inanimate objects.
  • Additional abnormalities: Affected children often have severe aggression, sleep disorders, restricted eating behavior and a too low or too high threshold for smells, touches, noises, surfaces / substances, cold or pain. Intellectual limitations are also common.

Frequency and causes

  • One in 150 children is affected, boys three times more often than girls.
  • Around two thirds of those affected are already suspicious as infants, e.g. because they hardly react to people.
  • In around a third, the disorder shows up from the age of two.
  • A definite diagnosis is possible at the age of two to three years.
  • Causes: Genetic factors play a major role in the disorder. Possible biological risk factors are: premature birth, infections during pregnancy, older father's age, medication during pregnancy.

Early intervention through behavioral therapy

Intensive behavioral therapy can help children affected by autism make great strides. It can be decisive for attending school and kindergarten. Through targeted practice, the children train linguistic and social skills that other children learn intuitively. The child is trained at home by a therapy team that also includes the parents. Important here:

  • There must be at least 35 hours of therapy per week.
  • Early behavioral intervention (FIVTI) should begin as young as possible.

The therapy program lasts around two years. The disability insurance only covers part of the costs. Further support from institutions (Pro Infirmis) depends on the parents' income.

Autistic spectrum: three types

There are three types of disorders of the autistic spectrum.

  • Early childhood autism: problems apparent before age three. Symptoms develop fully from the age of two.
  • Atypical autism: Problems appear after the age of three or problems less severe, not present in all three core areas.
  • Asperger's Syndrome: No serious abnormalities in language and general development in the first three years of life. Timely language development.

The intensive therapy for early childhood autism presented in the "Pulse" series was chosen deliberately. It is an early behavior therapy intervention (FIVTI) based on applied behavior analysis. The FIVTI method has been scientifically well researched and its successes have been proven. That is why the disability insurance has been covering part of the therapy costs in the form of a lump sum for a year. The IV underlines in a circular that the FIVTI therapy approach is recognized in the professional world. However, the therapy must be carried out by specialized bodies. As a rule, demand exceeds supply. In this learning and behavior therapy, the promotion of language comprehension and active speaking is very important. Early intervention also includes the areas of social interaction, play skills, and everyday activities. It is usually carried out at home until kindergarten starts, with the parents' involvement.

  1. Pulse
  2. Early childhood autism
  3. Current article

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  • Comment from Beppie Hermann, Bern
    Our son was also diagnosed with this diagnosis, but he was fortunate enough to have experienced a much more uncomplicated, more natural way of dealing with his environment for years at the end of the world, which tickled the discovery of his feelings for others, but also his talents, so to speak. Back in Switzerland, we refused the recommended therapies, encouraging his passions all the more, he literally got absorbed in them. Almost none of the symptoms are left over from it.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from maria, bienbe
    my boy was also diagnosed with early childhood autism. they said he would never speak, walk, be clean, be independent. this aba therapy says nothing to me, but i have std. spent in physiotherapy and other therapies, plus special children's garzen and early education at home. We also didn't let his handicap hinder us. he was always with us everywhere. The effort was worth it, today he works independently from home every day.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Heidy Lüthy - Rüegg, 5035 Unterentfelden
    I am the mother of an Asperger's - autistic woman, forcing this child to make eye contact is torture. There are autistic people for whom eye contact causes pain, the child has no possibility of retreat. You are trying to reprogram this child, so to speak. Autism is very difficult to understand and far too little researched. These children need a lot of patience. It should not be forgotten that autistic people cannot defend themselves verbally because communication is restricted.
    Agree agree to the comment

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