Hostage Crisis: Long-term Affects on Autistic Child

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Dr. Muhammed Salim describes autism as a behavioral disorder where kids have issues with socialization and speech.
He says it can be classified under three levels.

"It may be mild, moderate and severe depending on the impairment," said Dothan Pediatric Clinic Pediatric Neurologist Muhammed Salim.

Dr. Salim says the characteristics depend on the child's age.
In this case, family members say the boy is 5-years-old.

"Around 5 they are able to communicate a little with adults but they use adults as a tool so they don't have good social interaction," added Salim.

Dr. Salim says although he doesn't know how severe the boy's autism is, there is reason to be concerned about the long-term effects this situation could have on him.

"The problem with autism is that certain changes in environment affect their behavior. Sometimes kids become more aggressive after the change of environment and sometimes they become more drawn, more social impairment," explained Salim.

Officials have confirmed that the boy is eating but Dr. Salim says food is another concern. "They're very picky eaters, some like soft food some like hard food so they can be affected in every way."

Dr. Salim says most likely the child will need some behavior counseling once this is all over.

Dr. Salim says with a sudden environment change, children with autism may also suffer from sleep disturbance and have a higher chance of having seizures.

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