Today is the International Day of Autism, an illness that affects
children from 1 to 2 years old. Doctors in Albania have often raised the
alarm that it has been increased in the last 10 years.
Although there are no accurate statistics, a few times ago it was declared that 1 in 160 children in Albania is affected by autism. By the end of 2008 there were 4300 autistic children and teenagers in Albania.
This is a disorder when a child cannot create any emotional connection with others, and has communication problems. Doctors confirm that autism can be identified at the first months of a child’s life, and they can be diagnosed by an expert when the child is 5 months old. The really visible signs start from 18 to 36 months of age.
A characteristic of this syndrome is that the child can physically develop without showing any sign until 16 or 18 months, and after this age mothers could identify problems in its development. Autistic children have communication problems, they are isolated and do not create emotional connections. They do not associate with their peers and focus on one object. They have speech irregularities hence the symptoms are identified by the age when children start speaking. The presence of these signs makes the most common elements for the diagnosis. Speech abilities are sometimes absent, late or atypical. Expert doctors in our country still have problems in identifying it at an early stage, and there is a lack of specialized doctors.
Although autism has been identified since 1943, it is not really known what causes it. Autistic people have limited physical abilities, but their appearance is similar to any person without disabilities. There are several theories for what causes it, such as brain damage, birth difficulties or severe illnesses in the early months of their lives. However, there are no certain facts and there are still many undergoing studies. It is also considered that the individual genes play a great role, and as soon the child can be diagnosed, the better help and support they will receive.