1 in every 110 children The prevalence rateare diagnosed with an increases from 10% to 17%Autism Spectrum every yearDisorder Autism Spectrum Disorders are more Boys are more common than childhood likely to develop cancer, pediatric AIDs, autism than girls and juvenile diabetes combinedBoys are diagnosed 3-4 times more often 1.5 millionthan girls Americans are affected and 1 out of every 70 boys is 10s of millions diagnosed in the US alone are affected world wide
Most causes are idiopathic, meaning we don’t know what causes them When autism was first discovered, people thought that it was caused by bad mothering During the 1960s and 70s, Dr. Bernard Rimland helped correct that theory He proved that it is caused by a biological disorder, not by bad parenting Dr. Bernard Rimland, who had a son with autism, later went on to found the Autism Society of America
We do know some factors that may contribute to autism
Genetic Disorderso Fragile Xo Tuberous Sclerosiso Angelman’s syndrome
There isnt currently a specific medical test to test for autism It is diagnosed through observation and psychological testing Symptoms vary, and so do the methods for diagnosing autism Sometimes a pediatrician doesn’t take a parents concern seriously and a diagnosis is delayed
Symptom types: Background to symptoms Social symptoms Communication difficulties Repetitive behaviors
Background to Symptoms Autism affects the way a child interprets the world It can make communication difficult It can make social interaction difficult There can be repetitive behaviors There can be very intense interests One child with autism may have very different symptoms than another child with autism symptoms of autism usually last throughout someones life time When a person is severely affected, they may not be able to speak or care for themselves Early intervention can make huge differences on the severity of a person’s symptoms
Social Symptoms Most children, form the beginning, are very social. They smile, wave, and turn towards voices. Affected children can be indifferent to average human interactions. They have trouble picking up simple social interactions that other children learn subconsciously. In their first year of life, and affected child may not interact or make eye contact. Affected children may be indifferent to other peoples interactions and they may prefer being alone. They may accept hugs and affection passively or resist it. Later on, they might not look to their parents for affection. They can react differently to anger or affection from their parents. Kids with autism are attached to their parents, but have a different way of showing their affection. To parents, it may seem like their child is not attached at all.
Social Symptoms Children with autism may take longer to what others are thinking or feeling. They don’t understand social cues like a smile, wave, or grimace, as easily as other children. Children may have trouble seeing things from another person’s perspective, and therefore, they have trouble predicting how others will react to certain things. They can have trouble regulating emotions, which can take the form of “immature behavior.” They may cry, have verbal outbursts, be disruptive in certain settings, or be physically aggressive. When in an overwhelming environment, they can “lose control,” which can result in actions like hair pulling or arm biting.
Communication Difficulties Some children with autism will remain mute all their life and learn other forms of communication like sign language or picture sign language. Other children learn to talk and babble when they are little and then lose the skills they have gained. Others wont talk until ages 5,6,7,8 or even 9 years old. Children with autism have a harder time expressing to others what they need or want and as a result may jut grab things or scream. As kids grow up, they may become aware of this difficulty and become anxious or depressed.
Repetitive Behaviors Children with autism may not look physically different, but they can have odd, repetitive motions. These motions can range from abrupt and obvious actions to very subtle ones. Some children may flap their arms, some may walk on their toes, and some may just freeze in a position they are in. Children with autism spend more time lining up their toys, like toy cars, in specific orders rather than playing imaginary games with them. If somebody disrupts the order of the toys, it can be very stressful to the child. Repetitive behaviors can also take the form of interests. Some of these interests can be very intense interests even if it is in something many people don’t find all that interesting. Children with autism need consistency in their environment. Changes in the environment or in their schedule can be extremely stressful.
What are other medical issuesthat may accompany autism?
Seizure Disorderso Called Epilepsyo Occurs in 39% of people with autismo It occurs more often in people with “cognitive defects” than in people with outo some studies say its more common in children that have had a regression of skillso There are different types of seizures o Grand mal – easy to spot o Petite mal – sometimes only seen on and EEG o Sub clinical – not clear whether these affect language developmento usually start early in life, but can happen any timeo Tests: o EEG (electroencephalogram) o MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) o CT (computed axial tomography) o CBC (complete blood count)o People can be treated with anticonvulsant to reduce/eliminate occurrences
Genetic Disorderso Fragile X Syndromeo Angelman’s Syndromeo Tuberous Sclerosiso Chromosome 15 Duplication Syndromeo Or another chromosome disorder
Gastrointestinal Disorders Gastritis Chronic constipation Colitis Celiac disease Esophogitiso The exact number of children with autism and gastrointestinal problems is unknowno Studies say it is anywhere between 46% and 85%o A popular “solution” to these problems is to remove dairy and gluten from the child’s diet
Sleep Dysfunctiono When the dysfunction is caused by a medical disorder like obstructive sleep apnea or gastrointestinal reflux, it can be cured by a doctoro When it isn’t caused by a medical problem, it can be treated with “sleep hygiene.” that means doing things like setting up a regular bedtime, having a bedtime routine, and limiting the hours of sleep
Sensory Integration Dysfunctiono Many children with autism react differently to sensory input or stimulationo Hearing, vision, touch, smell, taste, sense of movement, and sense of position can all be affectedo Information is being senses normally by the child, but is being perceived much differentlyo stimulation that may seem normal to another child can be perceived as painful, unpleasant, or confusingo Sensory Integration Dysfunctions include: o Hypersensitivity o Not being able to wear cloths o Not able to be touched o Not able to be in a room with normal lighting o Hyposensitivity o Increased tolerance of pain o Constant need for stimulation
Pica o Pica is an eating disorder that includes eating things that aren’t food o This is normal behavior between 18 and 24 months, but it can continue after this period of time with an autistic child o They tend to eat things like dirt, clay, chalk, and paint chips o A sign of pica is if a child is constantly mouthing on fingers or other objects o Children that do this should be tested for lead in their blood
Red Flags of Autism If there is no warm or joyful expressions by 6 months or after If there is no back and forth or sounds, smiles, or facial expressions by 9 months or after If there is no babbling by 12 months or after If there is no back and forth gestures (pointing/showing/reacting/waving) by 12 months or after If there are no words by 16 months or after If there are no two word meaningful phrases (not imitation/repetition) by 24 months Any loss of speech or babbling at any age
3-5 months: slowing of head growth 6-18 months: learning to crawl later than usual, ceasing to learn new skills, diminished muscle tone, decreased eye contact, inattentive behavior 1-4 years: loss of previously acquired skills 2-10 years: recession of skills stops, motor skill difficulties become more pronounced, seizures become more pronounced 10 years and older: developing motor skill difficulties, muscle weakening gets worse
Childhood Disintegration Disorder is acondition where a child will developnormally, but when they reach the age ofabout 3 or 4, they lose theirlanguage, motor, social, and other skills thatthey have already learned
Childhood Disintegration Disorder is anidiopathic condition, meaning we don’t knowwhat causes it
What are the symptoms ofChildhood DisintegrationDisorder?
Lose communication skills Lose nonverbal behaviors Lose skills already learned Decay of spoken language Lack of spoken language Inability to start or maintain a conversation Lack of playing Lose bladder/bowel control Lose language skills Lose social skills Problems forming relationships with friends and family members