Autistic Disorder

In the United States, it is estimated that one in 110 children are diagnosed with autism every year, where males are four times more likely to have autism than females.

Autism is a severe developmental disorder that generally occurs within the first two years of life. Autism consists of a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders that are characterized by social impairments, difficulty communicating, as well as repetitive behavior patterns.

Autism, also known as classical ASD, is the most severe form of autistic disorder. Most autistic children will appear normal in appearance but most often spend their time engaged in puzzling and disturbing behaviors that are different from a typical child.

Causes of Autistic Disorder

There is no known single cause for autism, but scientists have discovered that it’s likely that both genetics and environment play a role. It is also generally accepted that autism is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans in autistic children show differences in the shape and structure of the brain.

Scientists have also discovered that people with autism have abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain. These abnormalities suggest that autism could result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development caused by defects in genes that control brain growth. This is simply a theory and scientists are further studying this idea, as more research is acquired.

Symptoms of Autism

  • – No babbling or pointing by 12-months old.
  • – Does not use single words by 16-months-old or two-word phrases by two-years-old.
  • – Does not respond to their name.
  • – Loss of language or social skills.
  • – Poor eye contact.
  • – Excessive lining up of toys or objects.
  • – No smiling or social responsiveness.

Diagnosis

Doctors will use screening tests to gather information about a child’s development and behavior. Many screening instruments rely on parent observations of the child and their development. Comprehensive evaluation is then required if the doctor feels that the child has autistic symptoms. A comprehensive evaluation requires a psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist, and other professionals who will diagnose the child with autism. They will conduct a thorough neurological assessment and in-depth cognitive and language testing

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Treatment for Autism

Autism used to be seen as a disorder that you must accept and move on; however, this is not the case anymore. Many researchers have sought out treatment options that have been proven effective in treating children with autism.

Personalized treatment plans are used for people with autism, since symptoms range in severity. Behavioral training and management is often used as a treatment, as it uses positive reinforcement, self-help and social skills training to improve behavior. Speech and physical therapy are also used to help improve the body and manage symptoms.

Medications may also be used in cases of severe autism, where children may have sleep problems and even seizures. There are many groups and organizations that will give you help and support if you have autism or if someone you know suffers from an autistic disorder.

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