Autism is a disorder related to the brain and can lead to impaired thinking, social functioning, and diminished feeling for the lifetime of an individual. Autism commonly affects the ability of an individual to show response to others, create relationships, and having a normal communication with others.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism or classical autism is a group of developmental disorder which is also acknowledged as the autism spectrum disorder. Other disorder in the same group may include Asperger syndrome, Childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett syndrome, and Pervasive developmental disorder.
Who is more likely to be affected by Autism?
Boys are at much higher risk to get affected by autism in comparison to girls. Moreover, a boy will have higher chances of getting autism if his family has at least one more person with autism. Furthermore, if one twin is autistic, then another twin will be autistic too. But, symptoms may vary in both children.
Autism is A Wide Spectrum Disorder
Autism or ASD is referred to as wide-spectrum disorder, which means that no two individuals with autism will exhibit the same degree and types of autism. Some people will have very severe, and some will have a mild form of autistic symptoms.
The person with autism or ASD interacts very differently with another individual as compared to the average population. The person with autism seems to be clumsy, out of sync with others and cynical with their comments. In most severe cases, an individual with autism may seem not be engaged in other people at all.
An individual with autism is often not able to recognize the emotions of other people. He is not able to empathize easily with others feelings, but they can be taught to improve empathy by frequently reminding them of this. A conversation with an autistic individual seems like a one-way trip. There is no exchange of ideas, thoughts, and feelings when conversing with a person having autism.
Many children with autism do not like to get touched or hugged. But, there are exceptions too, and some autistic children like to hug their mother, siblings, father, and other close relatives.
A large group of children with autism does not use speech to convey their thoughts. It is unpredictable when they will start speaking. However, it is sure that there is no impairment in their physical abilities that prohibit them from speaking.
All children with autism are different from one other, but they have numerous traits and attributes that are common. Autistic people may seem dull and straightforward, but they may be very talented in various areas of studies, including technology, engineering and science, and music.
What are the Symptoms of Autism?
The symptoms of autism are unique for each autistic person. Autism is a comprehensive spectrum disorder, and a person having autism may exhibit a mild or severe form of autism symptoms. However, there are several problems that are common among autistic patients, including mental retardation, seizure disorder, and gastrointestinal issues.
Symptoms associated with social difficulties
Some children with autism are not able to get along with other people quickly. Some of the symptoms related to social skills include:
- The child has poor eye contact and dislikes being hugged and cuddled.
- The child fails to respond to his name and appear not to hear and understand you at different times.
- The child seems to be unaware of other’s feeling and likes to be alone. He or she prefers not to mingle with others and appear busy in their own world.
- The child may have no close friends and seems to be aloof. They have no interest in the activities of other people.
Symptoms associated with the communication
- The child may have delayed speech and may lack abilities to talk. In some cases, a child with autism may not speak at all.
- A child with autism face problems in initiating a conversation and have difficulties in carrying on with the conversation after it has begun.
- The child may not be able to express themselves appropriately and find difficulties in understanding the facial emotions and postures of others.
- They may speak out meaningless and odd things. They may repeat your words to you several times. They are unable to use their own hands for gestures.
Symptoms associated with behavior
- A child with autism exhibits the same kind of behavior that they repeat over and over again.
- They may behave unusually like flapping their hands and continuously shaking their legs.
- A child with autism create a routine for themselves and becomes upset at the simple change in their ritual.
- Some autistic children get enchanted with sophisticated machineries, like that of a car toy. They like video games, drawing and playing with toys, but they do the same activity repeatedly.
- A child with autism may be extra sensitive to sound, touch and light, but still unaware of pain.
Some children with autism after growing as an adult are able to live on their own. This also depends on the degree of intelligence and communication skills. However, some adults with autism require a lot of help and guidance for their lifetime.
What Causes Autism?
The leading cause of autism is still a debatable topic, and no one for sure knows what causes autism. According to some experts, autism is not caused by a single factor and is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Let us look at some theories that doctors and scientist say may be the causes of autism:
It may be possible that genes are the cause of autism, but no gene has been identified as causing autism. If in a family, one child is autistic, then there are 2% to 8% chances of having another child as autistic. Moreover, in the case of identical twins, if one twin is autistic, then another twin will have 75% chances of being autistic.
According to some people, children who have had the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine develop the symptoms of autism. However, experts claim that there is no link between MMR vaccination and autism. But, still, many parents refrain their child to have this vaccination.
Some early theories indicate that “cold” mothers of children are responsible for the cause of autism in a child. But, this interpretation is entirely wrong and not justified yet.
According to certain studies, the diet may play a role in the cause of autism in a child. A child may develop signs of autism starting from the pregnancy period. Pregnant women who eat a lot of fish, particularly tuna, can be blamed for autism in a child. Some fishes are contaminated with mercury, and it is known to cause a delay in the development of a child.
Some people find the link of autism with environmental factors. Environmental factors like pollution, chemical, toxic material may trigger autism in a child.
Development of the Brain
Research is going on to find the difference between the typical brain and autistic brain. Several brain abnormalities are found in a child with autism.
The level of serotonin in an autistic child can also be considered one of the causes of autism. Some autistic patients have too little or too much serotonin levels. The higher level of beta-endorphins has been reported in some autistic patients.
Immune Deficiency Problem
Some studies link the cause of autism with issues related to a deficiency in the immune system. Therefore, some treatments are based on boosting the immune system of the body. However, this evidence is not strong enough to be known as the main cause of autism.
Pregnant women who were given drugs to induce labor, or had yeast infections, poor diet, and hormonal imbalance during pregnancy have a greater chance of having an autistic child.