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Some Facts About Autism That Everyone Should Be Aware Of
It’s a little-known fact that the term “autism” was coined by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who used it to refer to adult schizophrenia. However, the connotations of the term were redefined in 1943 by Leo Kanner, who separated schizophrenia from autism and associated it with the modern understanding of the disorder. Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are medical terms used to refer to a group of complex brain disorders that lead to delayed development of social interaction skills and non-verbal and verbal communication.
Children with autism also tend to have habits that they repeat obsessively, such as rocking.
ASDs have a unique effect on everyone who is diagnosed with them. The intensity of the situation can range from a relatively serious condition to an extremely serious and chronic condition. People with ASD exhibit different symptoms, at various stages of development with varying severity.
The different categories of ASD
Autism spectrum disorder is an umbrella term used to name any or all of the following three subcategories:
- Asperger Syndrome: People with this condition are usually mildly autistic. These people show a strange attraction to certain activity patterns and habits. However, they show no signs of linguistic or cognitive impairment.
- Autistic disorder: This is also known as “classic autism”. In addition to significant constraints that affect a child’s ability to retain facts and figures, there are also significant delays in the development of language skills. A general reluctance is also observed in aspects of social interaction.
- Invasive trouble of the development: Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS): This is also known as atypical autism. Everyone who is diagnosed with some of the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome and autism, but not everyone, is usually clubbed into this group. Children with PDD-NOS show mild symptoms of social reluctance and communication delay.
Autism Symptoms and Signs
Although doctors diagnose the symptoms of autism in a child before the age of three, advances in technology and medical science have led to major improvements in detection and treatment. Now pediatricians and doctors can spot the telltale signs of autism in children as young as one year old. Here are some of the symptoms of autism:
- Children with autism stop responding to their name by the age of one.
- At 14 months, these children stop pointing to new objects to express interest.
- At 18 months, they stop playing games, such as playing with toys and dolls.
- They generally avoid eye contact and wish to be left alone.
- Children with autism are unable to understand the moods and feelings of those around them, or even of themselves, and fail to express these emotions in clear language.
- There is a significant delay in the development of their communication skills.
- They usually show signs of echolalia or obsessive repetition of words and phrases.
- They do not understand the questions and give relevant answers.
- These children are unable to adapt to sudden changes, such as loud sounds or flashes of light.
- Children with autism tend to develop obsessive traits and habits, such as rocking, flapping, and spinning in circles.
Diagnosis and treatment
Since there are no foolproof medical tests like blood tests and other examinations to detect autism, it is the responsibility of doctors, parents and caregivers to pay constant attention to the activities of the autism. child and find out by behavioral traits whether he might be autistic.
There is no cure for autism. However, with early intervention and effective treatment, the severity of the autistic condition can be countered to a great extent. Children with autism who show symptoms of language and social impairment can be trained to develop their skills to communicate with others and behave more presentably in a social setting. With extensive therapy and training, it is also possible to train these children to improve their cognitive skills and their ability to retain facts and figures.
The benefits of such training are not limited to autistic children alone. Children who show signs of developmental delay up to the age of three can also benefit from these therapies.
The causes of autism and the risk factors involved
Medical science has not yet discovered the precise cause of autism. Here are some of the environmental factors and chemical influences that have been seen as possible causes of autism:
- The chromosomal interaction in the genes of an individual can lead to the development of autism.
- Autism occurs in children with certain chromosomal or genetic diseases. For example, about 10% of children with autism also have fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, tuberous sclerosis and other genetic disorders.
- Children whose parents or siblings have autism are usually at risk of developing autism.
- Using prescription drugs like thalidomide or valporic acid during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of autism in the unborn child.
- Children born prematurely or severely underweight at the time of birth are more likely to develop autistic syndromes.
- The effect of vaccines has not yet been established. Researchers are also analyzing whether conditions just before birth and after birth lead to the development of autism. However, the assertion of ineffective parenting skills leading to autism is totally false.
Boys are five times more likely to have autism than girls. With 1 in 88 children diagnosed with autism, doctors and parents need to be constantly vigilant because early detection and proper treatment can help reverse the damage that can be done by this chronic condition.
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