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Diseases & Conditions

Autism

AutismCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Autism?

Autism refers to a brain disorder that impairs the ability of a person to communicate, develop relationships with other people and respond accordingly to the external surroundings.

Causes of Autism

Though scientists are not sure of the causes of Autism, it is felt that genetics may be a very important cause along with environmental factors. According to a few studies conducted recently it is felt that some people are genetically predisposed to autism. There is also evidence of emotional disorders like manic depression in families of those suffering from autism. Further, studies suggest that people with autism have abnormal levels of serotonin or any other kinds of neurotransmitters in the brain. Though there are no evidence of what causes autism, studies are currently going on with regards to the genetic, immunological and environmental causes.

Medications for Autism

Quite often medications are used to treat behavioral issues like aggression, self injury, throwing tantrums, etc. Most of the medications used are “off label” drugs which mean that the medication is not recognized by the federal authorities but a doctor may suggest using the medication if he or she feels that it is suitable for your child.

Prevention of Autism

One of the best ways of preventing Autism is to ensure that your child leads a very clean life, free of all toxins and other poisonous elements in nature. Make sure that your leads a very active and healthy life with a lot of physical exercise. Some of the other things that you can try include: early screening for autism, genetic testing for social and verbal development before the age of two, metabolic testing avoid food with high levels of mercury and finally, keep communicating with your pediatrician regularly.

Risk Factors for Autism

It is estimated by experts that between three to six people are affected by autism. Males are four times at risk of being autistic than females. Though autism runs in the families it is not contagious even though twins are most likely to be autistic than any other relatives. Some of the other risk factors for autism include the advanced age of parents, low weight at birth and premature birth or spontaneous genetic mutations without any causes.

Symptoms of Autism

There are a few symptoms with regards to autism. These include

  • Having difficulties with social interaction
  • Facing difficulties with verbal and non verbal communication
  • Repetitive Behavior or having obsessive interests

Children with autism can also display symptoms that lead to reduced sensitivity to pain. At the same time they may show increases sensitivity to either touch, sound or any kind of sensory stimulation. In children these symptoms can vary from being mild to disabling. Some of the earliest symptoms in children include

  • Difficulty in initiating and sustaining a conversation with other people
  • Being very inflexible to a certain routine or to certain rituals
  • Being stereotyped or repetitive
  • Speaking in a unusual manner
  • Being preoccupied with certain subjects or objects
  • Lack of any imagination when responding to social requirements
  • Having difficulty in making friends with own peers.

Treatment for Autism

It is important to start treating a child for autism once the disability has been identified. Though there is no best treatment for autism, the fact is that most scientists are of the opinion that early treatment plays a very important role. As a parent it is important that before you make any decisions for treating your child’s autism, look at the various options and gather as much information as you can about the various treatments available.

Types of Autism

Also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder, the different types of autism are characterized by an impaired ability to communicate and respond to the external society at large. The different types of Autism Spectrum Disorder include Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disntegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.