Autism: multidisciplinary assessment and treatment in Dubai
What is Autism?
Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) of the World Health Organization, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the many neurodevelopmental disorders occurring during the developmental period and involving significant difficulties in the acquisition and execution of specific intellectual, motor, language, or social functions. ASD is a persistent deficit in the initiation and sustainability of communication and interaction, with restricted, inflexible, or repetitive behaviors. Individuals with autism can show a full range of abilities varying according to social and educational contexts, as well as genetic and environmental factors. Consequently, it causes challenges in personal, social, educational, and other functioning areas, such as language, pragmatics, social communication, motor development, sensory and emotional regulation.
Latest research proves that the onset of the disorder occurs during the developmental period, typically in early childhood before the age of 2, a phase where infants actively experience their surroundings, and grow the pillars of communication. With the increase of social demand and expectations, these symptoms may manifest differently or clearer.
Thus, the diagnosis of autism can be set as early as 18 months. It requires two main features:
Persistent deficits in initiating and sustaining social communication and reciprocal social interactions manifesting in several functions, such as:
Persistent restricted, repetitive, and inflexible patterns of behavior, interests, or activities atypical or excessive for the individual’s age and sociocultural context. These may alter:
EARLY DIAGNOSIS & INTERVENTION
Even though early diagnosis and intervention can improve the outcomes in children with ASD, we can always seek professional help at any age to enhance the communication opportunities of individuals on the spectrum.
Don’t hesitate to seek the opinion of our multidisciplinary team, made of qualified professionals in the areas of child development. When you call the clinic, you will be offered an appointment time for an initial consultation. The initial consultation is the first appointment and will last 50 to 60 minutes. This is an opportunity for the clinician to start to get to know more about you and identifying what the fundamental difficulties are. We then take a collaborative approach to developing a care plan with the support of the multi-disciplinary team. We are here to support you, will talk you through the best care plan available and ensure you are informed, comfortable, and at ease with all your options.
What are the signs of ASD?
As stated earlier, signs of ASD can start before the age of 2. Below is a list of signs that you might find useful. The presence of one or more of these signs does not mean your child has autism. When in doubt, please contact our team of healthcare professionals for an assessment.
By 9 months
By 12 months
By 16 months
By 24 months
At any age
Whom should I contact?
If you are in Dubai and are concerned about the development of your child in the areas of communication, language, motor skills, behavior, and sensory abilities, our multidisciplinary team offers you evidence-based practices in the fields of:
We offer you a holistic approach in autism therapy, in our clinics in Dubai Healthcare City, and Jumeirah Lake Towers, in Arabic, English and French.
We use specific tools to assess and treat children and adolescents with ASD. Autism therapy is multidisciplinary and involves parents as important actors in the treatment plan.
How can we help?
We can help your child learn to:
We can support you to:
With appropriate developmental support by a team of professionals, usually comprising of a speech therapist, an occupational therapist and trained behavioural therapists, and your invaluable contribution as parents, your child can learn new skills, play games, make friends and participate in the communities to which they belong. Help us help you give your child the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Your child… isn’t yet talking….
Are you concerned your child may be developing atypically?
Are your friends and family advising ‘wait and hope?’
While telling you not to worry – accompanied by an anecdote about a child who did not start talking until after their fourth birthday and is now CEO of a successful company – is well-intentioned, and may be true, this is not necessarily helpful!
Nine out of ten children with speech delay do in fact need our help. Not only that, there is a direct correlation between the age at which a child begins receiving support and a positive long-term outcome. We can help the most if intervention begins prior to the age of three.
So when do you ‘wait and hope’ and when do you seek professional help?
What to look for when your child is not talking
Does your child look directly at you? If you put your face over the buggy, or cot, does your child ‘lock’ their gaze onto your face? If you smile, frown or wiggle your eyebrows, does your child consistently attempt to make the same face themselves?
Does your child spontaneously engage with you? If your child hears your voice, does he/she turn towards the sound to find you? If you clap your hands, does your child spontaneously clap hands in response?
If your child sees something that brings them joy, do they indicate they want you to share the experience with them? Do they look up at you to check you are looking too; or point or bring it to you to show you?
How does your child react to changes in their environment?
Every child is different.
However, atypically developing children such as those on the Autistic spectrum may:
If you notice these behaviours in your child, they could indicate atypical development. If so, don’t wait. Contact us as we are here to help.