Autism comes under the category of being a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which is basically a group of illnesses that hinder the development of many basic skills, particularly the ability to socialize or interact with others, communicate effectively or use imagination. Children who suffer at the hands of autism generally find it difficult to make sense of the world around them and are usually perplexed in their thinking.
Research has documented for 75% of children who suffer from autism to be sufferers of mental retardation as well. Hence, along with facing troubles in social interactions, effective communication and imagination, children who suffer from autism have a limited range of interests as well. Furthermore, children who suffer from autism also find it extremely hard to emotionally involve themselves with the world around them, including the inability to form emotional bonds with their family members and parents even.
The causes of autism are not exactly known. However, scientists have concluded for genetics, certain kinds of infections and problems occurring at birth to count as plausible causes of autism.
Recent studies that have been conducted on autism have established a link between genetics and autism, that is, there is a certain possibility that some people may acquire autism as being passed on to them from their parents. Furthermore, some research also displays for environmental factors to play a role in the development of the disorder. Lastly, some scientists have found there to be abnormalities in certain regions of the brain in autistic individuals.
There are a few other theories based on the causes of autism. One of them suggests that the body’s immune system produces certain antibodies which attack the brain, consequently causing autism. Another theory suggests that brain structures deviating from what typical one looks like, may be a concern for autism. On the other hand, a theory also suggests that the brains of children suffering from autism grow at a pace faster than that of normal children’s, and later when the brain of the normal children begins to organize itself and grow at a faster pace, that of an autistic child’s does the opposite.
There are also certain cases in which autism has been associated with underlying medical conditions such as metabolic disorders, congenital infections, genetic disorders, along with the previously mentionedbrain abnormalities.
The symptoms of autism are profound in nature. Autism is typically diagnosed when impairment is significantly visible in the following three areas:
One of the biggest symptoms of autism is impairment in conducting social interactions appropriately. These behaviors include:
Another major symptom of autism relates to ineffective communication. The following behaviors pertaining to ineffective communication may be displayed by autistic children:
The behavioral symptoms of autism are composed of a long list. These symptoms primarily include:
Treatments of autism are all fixed on helping the child develop to its fullest potential and are focused on helping improve the overall ability of the child to function properly. Some of the more effective lines of treatments are as follows:
Behavioral training and management primarily focuses on improving on behavior and communication impairments faced by autistic children with the help of positive reinforcement, self-help and social skills training.
Specialized therapies include speech, physical and occupational therapies. Research has concluded for these therapies to be highly essential, viewing them as important phases of treatment that should be incorporated in the lifespan of autistic children in predetermined time intervals. These therapies can help the children improve their speech and communication impairments, motor skills and deficiencies in coordination.
Medication can be administered to autistic children in order to help alleviate depression, over-activity or under-activity, anxiety and OCD.