More Facts about Autism

More Facts about Autism
Autism is a developmental disability that impacts the normal development of the brain and mainly affects social interaction and communication skills. Common signs of autism are:
  • Difficulty communicating, both verbally and non-verbally · Difficulty making and maintaining eye contact
  • Short or poor attention span
  • Limited social skills – children with autism tend to prefer playing alone and may become upset if interrupted by others
  • Function best with routines and often show repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively repeating words or body movements, or having objects arranged in a very specific way

However, all children are unique and a child with autism may display completely different symptoms from another. Hence, autism is often known as a “spectrum disorder” ( a group of disorders with similar characteristics). A child with mild symptoms is at one end of the spectrum, while a person with severe symptoms is on the other.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) includes the following conditions:
  • 1. Autistic disorder: also known as “Classic autism.” Most signs of autism occur in children in the first 18 to 24 months.
  • 2. Asperger’s syndrome: A form of autism where the child has fewer developmental delays. They often show little signs of speech-language delays initially and as they get older, many of them can communicate with great skill. Their repetitious behaviors also may be more subtle. However, children with Asperger’s syndrome will exhibit atypical communication patterns such as using vocabulary and having knowledge well-beyond their age and manner, yet at the same time, have limited awareness of simple interaction rules such as turn-taking (sharing speaking time), fleeting eye contact (or inappropriately stares), difficulty following rules in group setting (such as in school). Since children with Asperger’s syndrome are so able, they often are not diagnosed until they are between 4 and 8 years old.
  • 3. Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS): sometimes known as atypical autism. This is a condition where a child shares many of the characteristics of autism, but not all. These children tend to have some social skills, may have some non-verbal and verbal development, but overall they are significantly delayed with their communication development. PDD-NOS is a “catch-all” diagnosis; a child is often given this diagnosis when he or she shows many symptoms as a child on the autistic spectrum, but does not meet the written criteria for a more specific diagnosis.
Here are some of the key facts and findings:
  • › Autism affects all races, ethnicity, household incomes, lifestyles and levels of education.
  • › An estimated 1 in 150 children are affected, which means 1.5 million people are believed to have some form of it.
  • › There is no known cause for autism. Research is being conducted on a variety of potential sources, including infectious, metabolic, genetic and environmental factors.
  • › Brain scans typically show differences in the shape and structure of the brains of autistic children compared to non-autistic children.
  • › Autism is not fatal. Most autistic children have a normal life expectancy. Although not many children are able to live independently when they reach adulthood, some do become successful.