Autism, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is an umbrella term for a collection of neurological developmental disorders. Communication and social differences are hallmarks of these conditions. As part of their autism spectrum disorder, many people with ASD engage in limited, routine activities.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Affects people of all colors, creeds, and socioeconomic levels. The CDC reports that boys are more likely to receive a diagnosis of ASD than girls. The ratio of boys to girls among 8-year-olds in 11 different American cities was 4.3 to 1. Reliable 2016 Source, An autism spectrum disorder was present in about 1.3% of the people in the study.
Evidence suggests that autism rates are increasing. The improvement is being blamed on the environment by some. Whether there is an increase in cases or just more frequent diagnoses is a matter of some debate amongst experts. Check the rates of autism in various states across the USA.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a person’s capacity for social interaction and communication. Restricted and routine behavior is also a hallmark of the disorder. Autism is a spectrum disorder, so “spectrum” refers to the wide variation in symptoms and degrees of impairment.
Conditions such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and some forms of the pervasive developmental disorder are now all included under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorder. Asperger’s syndrome is still used by some, even though it is now considered a mild form of autism spectrum disorder.
Childhood-onset of autism spectrum disorder is associated with lifelong challenges in social interaction, academic performance, and occupational success. Autism spectrum disorder typically manifests in a child’s first year of life.
A subset of children whose development appears to be typical during the first year but then experience a regressive period between the ages of 18 and 24 months, during which they begin to show signs of autism. There is currently no known cure for autism spectrum disorder; however, many children can benefit significantly from intensive, early treatment.
Symptoms of Autism
Signs of autism spectrum disorder can appear as early as infancy in some children, including a failure to make eye contact, a failure to respond to their name, or a general lack of interest in their caregivers. Some kids grow and typically learn for a while, but then they withdraw or become aggressive or forget what they already know in terms of language.
By the age of 2, symptoms are usually obvious. Every child with ASD will likely display different symptoms and severity, ranging from extremely mild to severe. Some children on the autism spectrum show signs of having a lower than average IQ and have trouble learning.
Some children with the disorder are of average or above-average intelligence; they pick up new information quickly but struggle with using it in practical situations, making friends, and interacting with adults.
The severity of a child’s condition can be hard to gauge because every child experiences different symptoms. It usually depends on the severity of impairments and how they affect daily life. Some symptoms typically displayed by those with autism spectrum disorder are listed below.
Social communication and interaction
There are several signs that a child or adult may have autism spectrum disorder, including difficulties with social interaction and communication.
- Doesn’t seem to recognize you when you call their name and sometimes act like they don’t even hear you.
- Lacks facial expression and makes awkward eye contact.
- Speaks slowly or not at all; loses the ability to express oneself verbally.
- Words and phrases are repeated without any comprehension of their meaning or context.
- Seems unable to follow even the most basic instructions
- Shows no emotion or feeling and seem oblivious to the emotions of those around them.
- Doesn’t demonstrate interest by pointing or bringing items to show
Patterns of behavior
Individuals on the autism spectrum may exhibit any one or more of the following signs, which include restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities:
- Do things like a rock back and forth, spin around, or flap their hands in a rhythmic fashion
- Self-injurious behaviors are displayed, such as biting oneself or banging one’s head against a wall.
- Creates rigid patterns of behavior and finds even minor disruptions upsetting
- Clumsy, for example, or walking on one’s toes; odd, stiff, or exaggerated body language; coordination issues
There is evidence that some children with ASD improve their social skills and display less disruptive behavior as they age. It’s possible that some people, typically those with less severe problems, will be able to live relatively typical lives.
However, for others, language or social skills difficulties persist and often worsen during adolescence due to hormonal changes.
When to see a doctor
There is no set timetable for a baby’s development, and many babies don’t follow the timelines in some parenting books. However, children on the autism spectrum often show signs of developmental delay well before their second birthday.
Consult your child’s doctor if you have concerns about their growth or if you suspect that they may have autism spectrum disorder. This disorder shares symptoms with some others in the developmental disorder spectrum.
Signs of autism spectrum disorder are typically apparent early when a child has noticeable delays in language skills and social interactions. Suppose your child exhibits any of the following. In that case, your physician may suggest a battery of developmental tests to determine the presence or absence of delays in cognitive, language, or social skills:
- Doesn’t show any signs of happiness within 6 months
- By 9 months, shows no signs of imitating vocalizations or expressions.
- By 12 months old, they no longer make noises like babbling or cooing.
- By 14 months, shows no signs of gesturing (pointing, waving, etc.).
- By 16 months, they haven’t said a word.
- Doesn’t engage in “make-believe” or pretend play by the age of 18
- By 24 months old, doesn’t use two-word phrases
- Experiences a decline in linguistic or social competence at any age
Autistic Spectrum Disorder: What Causes It
Genetics. The root of autism spectrum disorder is unknown. There are likely many causes, given the complexity of the disorder and the wide range of symptoms and severity. Possible contributors include both genes and upbringing. Multiple genes have been linked to ASD. Children with ASD may also have underlying genetic conditions like Rett or fragile X syndrome.
However, some children may be at greater risk of developing autism spectrum disorder due to gene mutations. The severity of symptoms, brain development, and communication between brain cells may all be influenced by additional genes. Some genetic mutations seem to be inherited, while others occur spontaneously.
Aspects of the natural world. Autism spectrum disorder may be triggered by exposure to air pollutants, viruses, certain medications, or complications during pregnancy. Some children on the spectrum show signs as early as a few months of age. However, some people appear to develop normally for the first few months or years of their lives before they begin displaying symptoms.
But up to half of the parents of children with ASD noticed issues by the time their child reached 12 months, and between 80% and 90% saw problems by 2 years. Those with ASD may improve with age, despite their symptoms persisting throughout their lives.
The range of autism is vast. Some people’s problems may be more evident than others. Differences in social skills, communication, and behavior are common with other people on the spectrum.
Autism Cure Exists, and It Works!
Unfortunately, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is not preventable but can be managed with therapy. Positive behavior, proficiency, and language changes can result from early diagnosis and intervention. But regardless of age, assistance is welcome.
ASD is most often a life-long condition. Though children with autism spectrum disorder typically do not outgrow their symptoms, they may develop effective coping mechanisms. Teaching autistic children and adults new skills through behavioral interventions or therapies effectively combat the disorder’s hallmark deficits and symptoms.
In the autism spectrum, every child and adult is different. This is why each patient receives care tailored specifically to their requirements. To reap the long-term benefits of therapy, it is ideal to start interventions as soon as possible. Additional medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal and feeding difficulties, seizures, and sleep disturbances, are common among people with ASD.
Either behavioral therapy, medication, or both, may be used in treatment. Early intensive behavioral treatments involve the entire family and possibly a team of professionals. Your child’s treatment plan may evolve as they grow older to meet their needs better.
The severity of ASD symptoms typically decreases with age. Individuals with ASD have a chance at leading a “typical” life, but they still may require services and support well into old age. Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder may need to be adaptable and willing to make treatment changes as their child progresses.
The necessities are based on the intensity of the symptoms. Most people will have to deal with the condition for the rest of their lives and may need treatment and assistance forever. Over the past 20 years, scientists have learned much about autism spectrum disorder, thanks to extensive studies.
The origins of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and methods of early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment are the subjects of active and ongoing study. Adolescents can use transition services that teach them self-sufficiency and other lifelong skills. At that point, getting a job and learning new skills is paramount.