More children are displaying autism-like symptoms.

More children are displaying autism-like symptoms.

More and more children are given the diagnosis of 'autism'. The question is always: is it because doctors are getting better at diagnosing children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or is there a modern reason behind it?

French child psychiatrists Dr Isabelle Terrasse and Dr Anne-Lise Ducanda came up with an interesting conclusion, which is important for all of us: the enormous increase in the number of children with autism may have to do with the amount of time they spend behind screens.

Very striking!
To come to this bizarre conclusion, they examined children who were between 0 and 4 years old and had been diagnosed with autism in the hospital. They ordered the parents of these children not to let their offspring come into contact with screens. Television out, iPads under lock and key, laptop in the case and phones stay with mom and dad. The result after one month: all complaints had disappeared!

According to Terrasse and Ducanda, this form of 'visual autism' has an explanation: children learn by playing and social interaction. They learn by touching toys and having conversations with their parents, teachers at a nursery and / or children of their own age. By exposing children extremely to screens (the light and sound have an addictive effect), they become dulled from reality and they can develop autism-like features.

To banish all screens immediately to the basement is not entirely necessary. Our increasingly digital society requires experience with technology, and therefore also screens. Moreover, it is - let's be honest - sometimes just easy (and essential!) to plonk your little one in front of a screen so you can have your hands free. It's time for a little compromise - some screen time, but plenty of face-to-face interaction and playing with real toys, too.

Movie with warning
To spread their message, child psychiatrists dr. Isabelle Terrasse and dr. Anne-Lise Ducanda have recorded a video. Take a moment to look at it, because it's worth it. Even if you need a screen for that ;-)

How much time does your little one spend every day behind a screen?

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