What is Autism?
Definition of Autism: Autism is a group of developmental brain disorders that make communication and social interactions difficult. The CDC estimates that one in 88 children are now diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or ASD. Below is a brief overview of the causes, symptoms and treatments, plus links to more information.
What Causes Autism? Research points to both genetic and environmental causes. An environmental influence could be anything a fetus is exposed to in the womb or anything in the air, food, medicine or water a child encounters after birth.
Is Autism Contagious? No.
Medical Term: Autism Spectrum Disorder
Signs & Symptoms: Autism symptoms vary greatly in kind and intensity, but usually span social interaction, language and behavior. Common signs include children who:
- Fail to make eye contact.
- Have an aversion to cuddling.
- Lose language skills gained in early childhood.
- Seem unaware of others' feelings.
- Perform repetitive movements such as rocking, spinning, or flapping arms.
- Become disturbed at the slightest change in their routines or rituals.
Treatment & Remedies: Treatment often involves a coordinated set of behavioral, communication and educational therapies tailored to each child's needs. Doctors may prescribe medication for anxiety or other consequences of autism, but drugs cannot treat core autism symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Autism is almost five times more common among boys than among girls, according to the CDC.
- The earlier a child receives treatment, the better his or her prognosis.
- Symptoms usually appear before age 3 and can range from a mild impairment to severe disability.
Sources and More Information:
- Autism: Details from MyHealthNewsDaily
- Related Information from the Mayo Clinic
- Related Information from the National Institute of Mental Health
- Related Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This information is not meant to provide specific medical advice. It is for educational purposes only. We recommend you consult a qualified health care professional for diagnoses and treatment advice, and call 9-1-1 in emergencies.
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