*DEFINITION OF AUTISM*CHARACTERISTICS OF AUTISM*CAUSES OF AUTISM*TYPES OF AUTISM*Treatment of AUTISM
DEFINITION OF AUTISM "Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.
CHARACTERISTICS OF AUTISM Most signs or characteristics of Autism are evident in the areas of speech or communication (verbal and non-verbal). Many of the signs or symptoms of Autism begin presenting themselves between 2 and 6 years of age.
The research indicates the following symptoms are the most commonly found characteristics of Autism:1-The child is unable to coo by 12 months.2-The child also does not point or gesture by 12 months.3-The child does not say single words by 16 months.4-The child does not say 2 or more words by 24 months.5-Has lost some of social skills or language abilities.
Other Characteristics include:1- No fear of danger.2- Over or under sensitivity to pain.3- May avoid eye contact with you.4- May prefer to be by him/herself.5- Has difficulty expressing what they want or need -may then try to use gestures.6- May echo words or phrases.7- May have inappropriate attachments to objects.8- May spin his/herself or objects. Prolonged repetitive play.9-May insist on things/routines always being the same.10-May exhibit inappropriate laughing (laughing whennot appropriate to the situation).
11- May display tantrums for no apparent reason.12- May avoid cuddling.13- May exhibit self injurious behavior when upset i.e.14- biting selves or banging heads.15- An overall difficulty interacting with others.
CAUSES OF AUTISMThe research indicates that the cause of Autism is likelybiological, but this may not be the only cause. Evidencehas shown that 1 in 3 people diagnosed with Autismhave had around 1-2 epileptic seizures by the time theyreach adulthood. Also, Autism tends to run infamilies, pointing to a possible genetic cause. Andautopsies of the brain have shown deficits in variousparts of the brain (i.e. cerebellum, frontal lobes, brainstem). Scientists have also found abnormal levels ofneurotransmitters in the brain, such as Serotonin.
TYPES OF AUTISMThese are the most common disorders, all presenting ina somewhat similar manner, but having slightvariations:Autistic Disorder - As stated above, and defined by theAutism Society of America (ASA): "Autism is a complexdevelopmental disability that typically appears duringthe first three years of life and is the result of aneurological disorder that affects the normal functioningof the brain, impacting development in the areas ofsocial interaction and communication skills. Bothchildren and adults with autism typically showdifficulties in verbal and non-verbalcommunication, social interactions, and leisure or playactivities.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder (P.D.D) - Also called"Atypical Autism." Children with this disorder havemany of the same characteristics of Autism, but not allthe criteria associated with Autism.Aspergers Disorder - Children with this disorder do nothave the usual language barriers associated with Autismand are generally very intelligent. However, they dotend to struggle with social interactions, and can fixateon a particular object or subject they take an interestin, and talk about it constantly.
Retts Disorder - Retts is rather similar to Autism, butpresents only in girls. The children begin to develop ontarget, but then begin losing some communicationabilities. The symptoms of Retts can begin to occurbetween ages 1 and 4.
AUTISM TREATMENTSCurrently there is no known cure for Autism. Thedisorder is treated by working to change the symptomsof Autism ie. helping to improve the persons ability tocommunicate and cope with the symptoms and dealwith the repetitive behaviors.Also, some medications have also been helpful inalleviating some of the symptoms associated withAutism. Your doctor or Psychiatrist will decide whichmedicine to prescribe for Autism. Your doctor shouldalso help guide the course of treatment and considerincorporating other professional disciplines since thisseems to be the most effective strategy in managingAutism.