Frequently Asked Questions

Most wanted questions & answers

  • What are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)?

    These are a range of brain disorders in children associated with restrictive patterns of activities, behaviours and interests; stereotypical repetitive behaviour; impairment of social interaction; speaking difficulties, lack of communication and other developmental skills. 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

  • Who develops autism spectrum disorders?

    Both boys and girls can develop these disorders – however, boys are four times more likely to get than girls. ASDs can start as early as 12 to 18 months and after 4 to 5 years or later. Though girls are less likely to get ASDs, the symptoms in girls are severe. These disorders affect children of all social, ethnic and racial groups irrespective of their socioeconomic status.

  • What are the causes of ASDs?

    There is no particular or specific cause as researchers are exploring genetic, environmental and biological factors. Scientist and researchers believe that a combination of genetic, environmental and biological factors may play a role in the development of ASDs.

  • What is Autistic Disorder?

    This is the most common ASD – which is commonly known as autism. In this type of disorder, a child suffers from a severe impairment of interactive and communicable abilities.

  • How to know whether a child has autism?

    One can suspect autism in a child if the child lacks synchronous eye gestures – eye pointing or eye gaze; shows lack of interest in play and social gathering or social interaction; lacks eye contact; communicate rarely or uses language rarely for social communication and lacks imitation.

  • How is autism diagnosed?

    There is no specific biological diagnostic test to detect autism in children. But there are some improved diagnostic procedures that help clinicians diagnose autism in children at a younger age. Diagnosis is based on systematic screening involving the inputs from parents and the other parameters, such as: M-CHAT: modified Checklist for Autism in toddlers and ABC (Autism Behavioural checklist for older children); ADI-R: Autism Diagnostic Inventory-Revised and CARS: Childhood Autism Rating Scale. Thus, structured and systematic screening helps in measuring the prevalence of symptoms.

  • What is the age at which the typical symptoms of autism manifest?

    A typical development may be observed from birth, or more commonly, become noticeable during the 12- to 36-month period.

  • Can a child develop autism at an early age? If yes, then how to identify?

    You can suspect autism in a child if there is absence of typical sounds by age 12 months (Gibberish meaningless utterances made by a baby). • If a child does not gesture by 12 months (typical hand waving). • If a child does not utter single words by age 16 months. • If a child does not utter two words spontaneously by 24 months. • If the child shows loss of language or social skills at any age.

  • Do all children with autism behave in the same manner?

    No, they do not behave the same way as young children may behave differently and have different symptoms than older children. Though the children as young as 12 to 18 months can be diagnosed, but they have different clinical symptoms.

  • Can the symptoms develop after months of normal development?

    Yes, symptoms may be present from birth or may develop or manifest after months of normal development.

  • How are ASDs treated?

    The treatment is aimed at addressing both behavioural and cognitive functioning. Therefore, the treatment may include medications (specially for challenging children), educational intervention, psycho-education, behavioural therapy, speech and language therapy, specialized training, and occupational therapy. The aim of all these interventions is to improve the acquisition of necessary skills.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • What is attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

    ADHD is a neurological rather neurobehavioral disorder that affects a child’s ability to pay attention and exercise age-appropriate inhibition. Owing to excess hyperactivity or impulsiveness or inattentiveness the child’s natural working ability, school related activities, studies and work get compromised. The condition manifest during pre or early school years.

  • How common is ADHD among children?

    Approximately 4 to 5 percent children are affected by ADHD. Even adults are also affected.

  • How is the behaviour of the children suffering from ADHD?

    There are basically three predominant behaviours seen in children with ADHD. They include hyperactive-impulsive type characterized by lacking severe inattention; Inattentive type characterized by lacking significant hyperactive-impulsive behaviour and the third one is combined type – which is inclusive of both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms. The symptoms begin to manifest over months with hyperactivity and impulsiveness appearing before inattention.

  • What are the typical symptoms of ADHD?

    Forgetfulness; disorganization; difficulty in performing activities and organizing tasks; avoidance of tasks and activities that require sustained mental efforts. Symptoms associated with hyperactivity-impulsive type behaviour: showing restless behaviour in situations demanding quiet behaviour; running, climbing and leaving a seat; difficulty waiting for turns or standing in lines. Symptoms associated with inattention type behaviour: do not listen properly when addressed directly; trouble focusing and maintaining attention in play or work; makes careless mistakes and ignores details and do not follow instructions properly. Children who have combined type behaviours exhibit both hyperactivity-impulsive type and inattention type symptoms. The children demonstrate the symptoms that have lasted for at least six months.

  • How is ADHD diagnosed?

    The condition is difficult to diagnose as the behaviour and symptoms vary across settings. The diagnosis is majorly based on the symptomatic history, persistent and number of behaviours and to what extent such behaviours have restricted a child’s performance. In a nutshell, the diagnosis is based on symptoms, history and impairments. A trained, experienced and qualified paediatric neurologist or psychologist with a special training in diagnosing mental, behavioural and ADHD can make a clinical diagnosis.

  • What are the causes of ADHD?

    ADHD is a neurological disorder and it is due to changes in the brain chemicals, activity and functions. The risk of a child getting ADHD increases with a strong family history of ADHD. In almost 50% of the parents who had ADHD as child also have a child with ADHD. A strong family history is indicative of a genetic cause of ADHD.

  • What is the treatment for ADHD?

    Though there is no specific treatment, usually the treatment is aimed at addressing both behavioural and cognitive functioning and it is basically symptomatic. Therefore, the treatment may include medications (specially for challenging children), educational intervention, psycho-education, behaviour modification, cognitive behavioural therapy.

Febrile Seizures

  • What are febrile Seizures?

    Convulsions or seizures occur in children of age 6 months to 5 years. Febrile seizures are triggered by fever. The fever may be associated with flu, cold or ear infection. The risk of febrile seizures increases during the second year of life. In some cases, febrile seizures are not associated with fever, but fever may develop after a few hours.

  • What happens during a febrile seizure?

    A child loses consciousness and shakes both the arms and legs uncontrollably (convulsions). This happens in majority of the febrile seizures. In some cases of febrile seizures, a child may not shake or move, but loses consciousness. Stiff or rigid limbs, twitching of an arm or leg or a part of the body and eye rolling are the other less common symptoms.

  • Does a febrile seizure mean a child has epilepsy?

    A febrile seizure does not mean epilepsy because epilepsy is characterized by repeating seizures, which are not triggered by fever.

  • Can febrile seizures increase the risk of epilepsy?

    Most febrile seizures last only a few minutes and are accompanied by a fever above 101°F (38.3°C). Prolonged seizures (lasting more than 15 minutes) and recurring seizures carry an increased risk of developing epilepsy.

  • Who are at risk of experiencing a febrile seizure?

    Children who experience their first febrile seizure at a younger age and who have a strong family history are at risk.

  • Can a seizure be due to any other serious health issue?

    More serious health conditions like meningitis can also cause seizure and fever. It is an infection of the membrane surrounding the brain. If a child neurologist suspects meningitis, then he or she may follow a different diagnostic approach. In some cases, excess water loss or dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting can also cause seizures. In such cases, doctors order blood and urine tests to know the exact cause of the condition.

  • Are febrile seizures harmful?

    Majority of the febrile seizures are short duration and therefore, do not cause any long-term damage. However, long duration seizures and recurrent seizures can increase the risk of epilepsy.