Commonly Asked Questions about Autism

5 Commonly Asked Questions about Autism, Answered

In honour of Autistic Pride Day, tomorrow.

While there are no statistics available on the number of people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the UAE, it has been reported that most autism centres are not only operating at full capacity, but also have long waiting lists. It’s no wonder, then, that 2021 brought with it the launch of the National Autism Policy that aims at both supporting caregivers and improving the health and well-being of people with ASD. It also focuses on upgrading the skills of personnel working at ASD centres and raising the efficiency of services offered.

Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that one in 100 children has autism, with reported prevalence varying substantially across studies. For the uninitiated, ASD is a complex developmental condition involving persistent challenges with social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviour. Autistic people are also frequently misunderstood because of their differences, making Autistic Pride Day – marked annually on June 18 – so vital. First celebrated in 2005, the event is rooted in instilling such individuals with pride over their neurodiversity. The Gaggler set out to support the cause, tapping Dr. Ateeq Qureshi, Senior Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Priory Wellbeing Centre, to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about autism. Listen in.

1. What causes autism?

There is no single known cause for autism. Both genetic and environmental factors may play a role. Genetic mutations may be inherited and the probability of having autism is higher if one has an immediate family member who is autistic. Parental age (older), premature birth, low birth weight, and complications during birth are all correlated with a higher risk of having autism. There is evidence for correlations of autism with certain environmental factors such as air pollution, heavy metal exposure, and some medicines – all of which are not very well understood and being researched. Sometimes, autism can be associated with genetic disorders such as Rett syndrome or Fragile X syndrome.

2. Where do you stand on the vaccines and autism debate?

The vaccine and autism debate was settled in the mainstream scientific community many years ago, with the consensus opinion that there was no clear evidence linking the two. In fact, the original study that proposed this link had to be retracted with the author judged to have acted dishonourably. There have been several well-designed studies and analyses over the last two decades that have shown no connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. Despite the wealth of evidence, this idea persists, and it is important that it is debunked as the harm it is causing is very real and significant.

Frequently Asked Questions About Autism – Answered

3. Autism is still so misunderstood – why do you think that is?

Autism is generally misunderstood as there is such a wide variety of presentations, with significant differences between those who have major needs – including 24/7 care in some cases – and those with high-functioning autism and many others in between. Media representations are not always correct. There is often a stigma attached to the term, and many people view it through the lens of that stigma. It is sometimes helpful to conceptualise it as a heterogeneous condition, and not as a disorder.

4. What exactly does the expression ‘on the spectrum’ mean?

Autism is known as a ‘spectrum’ disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms that people experience. The formal diagnosis in the DSM-5 is called autism spectrum disorder, and there is no difference between autism and autism spectrum disorder. Some people prefer to be known as being on the spectrum rather than having autism or being autistic.

5. How is autism diagnosed in young children, especially in terms of the diagnostic tools and techniques used?

Autism diagnosis entails a detailed clinical history, especially history of early development and observation of the child. There are structured assessment tools for both history and for observation, i.e. the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI) and Autism Observation Diagnostic Schedule (ADOS). In addition, collateral information from teachers and other supplementary assessment tools to rule out associated or related disorders are also used.


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Revitalise After Feasting: A Post-Thanksgiving Workout Regimen to Recharge Your Body

Revive, Recharge, Thrive

As the Thanksgiving feast fades into fond memories, it’s time to give your body the attention it deserves. In this post-feasting recovery guide, we’ll explore a tailored workout regimen designed to revitalise your body, recharge your energy, and counterbalance the indulgences of the holiday season.

Meow Yoga

The Wellness Journal

AED 175.00


Yoga Starter Kit – Green

AED 389.00

Gypsy Rose Holistic

Relax Essential Oil Roller

AED 75.00

Gypsy Rose Holistic

Digestion Essential Oil Mist

AED 95.00

Rut Essentials

Sandalwood Pure Essential Oil

AED 70.00


Meow Yoga

Aroma Diffuser – Chestnut

AED 70.00


7 Chakra Balancing Pillow & Room Spray

AED 95.00

C&S Active

Nafs Eco Sports Bra – Black

AED 180.00

C&S Active

Nafs Eco Leggings – Black

AED 200.00


Green Tea Assorted Energy Drink

AED 278.00

Beauty Treats

The Energy Cookie

AED 98.00


RAW Protein Isolate Vanilla

AED 290.00

1. Wake Up the Body with Cardio Bursts:

Kickstart your post-Thanksgiving regimen with invigorating cardio bursts. Whether it’s a brisk morning walk, a jog, or a dance session, get your heart pumping and awaken your body from its food-induced slumber.

2. Core-Strengthening Pilates:

Engage your core muscles with a Pilates session to restore balance and stability. These low-impact exercises are perfect for toning and strengthening, providing a gentle yet effective workout for your post-feast body.

3. Yoga for Digestive Ease:

Explore a sequence of yoga poses designed to aid digestion and promote relaxation. Gentle twists and stretches will help soothe your stomach and release tension, leaving you feeling rejuvenated.

4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):

Inject a burst of energy with HIIT exercises to elevate your heart rate and boost your metabolism. Short, intense intervals followed by rest periods are an efficient way to burn off excess calories and jumpstart your fitness routine.

5. Mindful Cool Down with Stretching:

Wind down your workout with mindful stretching. Focus on areas that may have tightened during the holiday festivities, allowing your body to recover and preventing post-feast stiffness.

As you embrace this post-Thanksgiving workout regimen, remember that it’s not about punishment but restoring balance. This curated routine aims to invigorate your body, clear your mind, and set the tone for a healthy and active holiday season. So, lace up those sneakers, roll out the yoga mat, and let’s embark on a journey to revitalise and recharge after the Thanksgiving feast.

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon after Thanksgiving should I start this workout regimen?

The post-Thanksgiving workout regimen can be started as early as the day after the feast. However, listen to your body, and if needed, allow a day or two for digestion before engaging in more intense exercises.

Can I customize the workout routine based on my fitness level?

Absolutely! Tailor the regimen to suit your fitness level and preferences. Modify intensity, duration, or choose alternative exercises to ensure a comfortable and effective workout experience.

Is it necessary to follow the entire workout routine, or can I focus on specific exercises?

Feel free to adapt the regimen to your needs. While the full routine provides a well-rounded approach, you can choose specific exercises based on your preferences or focus on areas that feel particularly tight or in need of attention.


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