What is Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders

ID-10054872Autism is a neural development which is characterized by impairment in communication and social interaction and the behavior is generally restricted and repetitive in nature seen since childhood.

The signs and symptoms of autism begin and become apparent before the child is three years old. The defect in connection and organization of nerve cells (neurons) and their synapses in brain affect the information processing in brain in autism patients. It is estimated that worldwide the prevalence of autism and ASDs is 1-2 per 1,000 people and CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA) estimates that prevalence of autism and ASDs in United States to be approximately 9 per 1,000 children.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are mainly three different clinical syndromes namely impairment of information processing by brain, Asperger Syndrome (delay in development of language and cognitive function), Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). The diagnosis of PDD-NOS is given when the full set of criteria for autism or Asperger Syndrome are not present in a patient.

Autism has strong genetic basis in causation. The genetics of autism is very complex. It is not clear, whether autism (and Autism spectrum disorder) is due to rare mutation or due to rare genetic combinations. In many cases autism is associated closely with the causative factors, which cause birth defects in a baby. Many experts on autism suggest that environmental factors such as heavy metals, vaccination during infancy and early childhood, pesticides etc. to be causative factors. But there is controversy regarding the environmental factors in causation of autism as strong scientific basis is lacking.

Parents generally notice autism features in a child before age of two years. Sometimes a child may have normal growth and development and later regress from normal development towards autistic features.

It is important for parents to know autism and detect autism because there is no cure for autism, but it is possible to gain self-care, social, and communication skills by autistic child, if early behavioral and cognitive therapy/intervention is done. Some children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood but not many and many parents want to treat autism not as disorder but a difference.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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1 Comment

  • Syryne June 10, 2013 07.33 pm

    that Sebastian was diagnosed with auitsm, he was 2 years old. It was an extremely difficult time for all of us. But, one thing was clear, we loved Sebastian and we were all willing to do whatever it takes to help him. Unfortunately, we did not know where to begin and what to do. It became clear that Sebastian has extreme difficulty speaking; he cannot speak or communicate with anyone. We then began to conduct research on special speech therapies or treatments that Sebastian can partake in, we tried nearly everything. Sebastian is an admirable boy because he is successfully fighting this battle against auitsm. But, he still has had a difficult time communicating with us over the years. When it appeared as if nothing was going to change, we discovered that Sebastian is intrigued with technology. He finds it extremely interesting. He immediately enthusiastically learned to use the computer. He is very familiar with Apple products especially iPhones and iPods. A friend of my daughter’s brought over an iPad for a school project, and he was instantly hooked, he was appalled at the graphics and the numerous applications. We knew he and the iPad were going to accomplish great things together, as a team. After that day, I began conducting research on the iPad and I discovered the fantastic things it can do for an autistic child. We were excitingly planning to give Sebastian an iPad for his 15th birthday, but then we saw the price. Due to financial problems, I was unsure if we were able to afford such an expensive device. My husband and I both got laid off. Things were not looking good, but then I found this organization and I became optimistic, I thought, “Maybe Sebastian will be learning from an iPad sooner than we think.” So please, don’t let our financial state be an obstacle for my son’s opportunity to learn and communicate. We would be planning to use any applications that are specifically designed for communication. I have faith in the iPad and I know that Sebastian will improve and it will be all thanks to your generosity.


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