- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Does Autism have a Cure?
Does autism have a cure?
Can autism be cured?
Throughout the world, one out of every sixty-eight children is affected with autism or an autism-related condition. This statistic, when compared with that of 1943, which is one out of every two thousand children, tells us a lot about autism as a menace, and why we cannot just brush it under the carpet.
Often diagnosed in children before they are three years old, autism is a condition where the development and function of the brain is unfavorably abnormal. For some parents of autistic children, autism makes parenting extremely difficult, as, besides the stigma and pressure from friends and family, they have to commit significant financial resources towards the care and management of their children’s condition.
Today, I’ll examine whether or not autism can be cured. But before I do, I’ll take a moment to understand autism, its symptoms and possible causes.
What is autism?
Autism, medically known as Autism Spectrum Disorder, is a group of five mental disorders that plague children who are just growing up. The other four are: Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD NOS); Asperger’s Disorder; Childhood Disintegrative Disorder; and Retts Syndrome.
A child suffering from autism or any of the disorders mentioned is considered autistic, and he/she has lapses in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction and repetitive behaviors.
For instance, an autistic child may be unable to make eye contact, sustain meaningful conversations for a significant period of time, socialize with friends at school, or throw a basketball into a basket repeatedly. Considering that each child is unique, his or her autism may have varying levels of the five mental disorders mentioned.
Some of the causes of autism
So what causes autism? I hear you ask. Just like there’s no one type of autism, there’s no one cause of autism. In fact, researchers do not know what causes autism, other than a couple of genetic and environmental factors that seem to affect the development of a child’s brain while he/she is in the womb.
Of course, when autism runs through the family, it’s likely that an unborn child might suffer it. When an unborn child is genetically predisposed, however, the age of his or her mother during pregnancy is thought to play a role in the development of the child’s brain. While the causal mechanism is still unknown, research has found that for every five-year increase in a mother’s age, her chance of giving birth to an autistic child rises by eighteen percent (18%).
Furthermore, certain illnesses, which a mother experiences during pregnancy, especially those involving a limited supply of oxygen to the fetus (and the baby’s brain, in particular), are believed to cause autism. Scientists believe that the baby’s brain and personality development occur during the fetus stage therefore, conditions that affect the fetus, can lead to the condition.
Can autism be cured?
Can autism be cured or not? Indeed, there’s no known cure for autism. Nevertheless, there are certain treatments that can help an autistic child function well and integrate into society in a much better way. These treatments are highly specialized, seeing as no two cases of the condition are the same.
Possible Treatment options to control autism in children
Behavioral training and management
One of such treatments is behavioral training and management. This treatment uses a combination of self-help and social training skills to help the autistic child have meaningful conversation, pick up social cues and relate well in social settings.
Another treatment is specialized therapy, a combination of speech, physical and occupational therapy. Speech therapy assists the child to use language well, and to accumulate social skills so that he/she can communicate well. Physical therapy helps the child to improve any disconnect in his/her coordination and motor skills. So in physical therapy, a child would learn to perform repetitive tasks such as throwing a ball to the wall repeatedly, kicking a soccer ball aimed at a target, learning how to ride a bicycle and so on.
Occupational training assists the child to process information from his/her senses; thus the sense of sight, smell, sound, touch, and kinesthetic.
Medications are another form of treatment, especially for depression, anxiety, hyperactivity and other compulsive behaviors associated with autistic children.
Finally, there are many advocacy groups that share best practices for managing autism in children. Such groups provide a robust support for autistic children and their parents.
We have learned from the above in this article that autism does not have a specific treatment for curing the disorder. We have also learned that autism is a disorder that occurs to an unborn child when in the womb of the expectant mother; hence it is a birth disorder.
However, there are certain measures that can be taken to control some of the symptoms of autism, especially in children.