According to the centers for disease control, Autism affects as estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today. Research suggests that Autism develops from a combination of genetic and non-genetic or environmental influences.
Autism is a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction, developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviors. Because of the range of symptoms, this condition is now called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
There is no known single cause for autism spectrum disorder but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function.
Other possible causes are--
- Advanced parent age (either parent)
- Pregnant woman exposed to certain drugs or chemicals, her child is more likely to be autistic.
- Pregnancy and birth complications
- Autism has been linked to untreated phenylketonuria (called PKU, an inborn metabolic disorder caused by the absence of an enzyme) and rubella (German measles).
Not all people with ASD will experience all of the symptoms listed-
- Intense focus on one item
- Lack of understanding social cues (like tone of voice or body language)
- Repetitive movements like rocking, spinning or hand flapping
- Self-abusive behavior like head-banging or biting
- Learning to speak relatively late
- Deficits in language comprehension
- Lack of empathy
- Social withdrawal
Sooner diagnosed, better treatment.
Treatments for autism vary depending on the needs of the individual.
- Behavioral and communication therapy
- Medical and dietary therapy
- Complementary therapy (music or art therapy)
- Occupational and physical therapy such as :
a. Gross Motor skills: Working on large muscles for sitting, standing, walking, running.
b. Balance and coordination skills: Involving the joints, and muscles in coordinated effort for smooth movement.
c. Posture and Gait training: Strengthening of muscle for support and endurance
d. Improving cardio-vascular abilities
e. Functional Mobility/Motor Planning: Child can perform activities of daily living.
Supplements may be recommended to improve nutrition. Vitamin B and magnesium are two of the most frequent supplements used for people with autism. Prenatal vitamins containing folic acid, before and at conception and through pregnancy.
Autism is four times more common in boys than in girls. Though children usually don't outgrow autism spectrum disorder symptoms, they may learn to function well.