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Wanted to Know About Autism? Here are some Important Information

Updated on May 28, 2016
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Patrick has been working as a freelance writer for the past 3 years

Talk Autism
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So What Exactly is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorders (autism)

Autism has been described as a neuro-development disorder that affects the behavior, social and communication skills of children. This disorder is also diagnosed on the basis of various rigid and or repetitive patterns of given behaviors. For different children, autism will manifest differently depending on such factors as age and abilities.

Let’s take a little closer shall we?

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is the general term used to refer to the group of neuro-developmental disorders that affect the behavior, social and communication skills of children. Two of the most common ASDs include Asperger syndrome and Autism. As a result of the complexity and variance of the condition, it has been difficult to effectively discern whether a child has the disorder.

Children with autism experience high difficulties relating with others socially. Typically, this may involve difficulties maintaining eye contact, sharing activities they enjoy with others or even forming friendships. According to a number of studies it has been shown that as infants, children with autism tend to;

  • Exhibit very little or no joint attention (the child would not be interested in an activity that would typically involves two or more children playing together)
  • Exhibit delayed use of language as compared to other children (often, they will not use language for the purposes of meeting basic needs or use vocabulary for labeling)

In most cases, social difficulties may be observed as early as within the first year. However, difficulties in communication may only be observed after the second year.

For instance, at the age of 2, the child may not have the words for communication, or may not be able to do so for a meaningful interaction. At 3, the child may completely lack phrases of sentences for proper communication. While some may have Echolia (where they often repeat what others say) others tend to regularly recite scripts from a favorite program.

Studies have also found children with autism to rarely use their imagination when playing. For instance, while a normal child is playing with a toy and pretending to be driving around on the floor or table, a child with autism will instead simply arrange the toy in a neat manner. In some cases, they may become increasingly rigid about given topic, thing or item that others would not usually take a keen interest in. For instance, the child may become overly fixated on addresses, dates or movie credits among others.

Prevalence

Globally, the prevalence of autism has increased significantly since the 60s (20 - 30 fold). Whereas the average in Europe was about 1 child per 2,500, this has increased to 1 - 2 percent of all children in the 2000s. According to a report released by the center for disease control in 2012, it was shown that the number of children being diagnosed with this disorder in recent decades has been on a steady increase. As compared to the figures in 2006 (1 in 110 children) the number of children diagnosed with the condition had risen to 1 child in 88 in 2008. This translated to 1 percent of children in the America. However, the increase has been largely attributed to increased awareness. On the other hand, studies have found ASTs to be more common among boys than girls (four boys to one girl). However, a majority of researches and experts in the this field agree that for girls, such a disorder will typically be identified at a later age as compared to boys.

Problems and complications associated with autism

Sensory problems

For some of the children with autism, there may be a chance that they are extremely sensitive to sensory input. The level of sensitivity to such sensory inputs may be extremely high to an extent that they result in high emotional discomfort. Whereas some tend to be highly affected by these sensations (pain, heat, cold) others may be unresponsive to extreme forms of such sensations.

Seizures/Epilepsy

This is one of the most common component of autism. Seizures may be observed among young autistic children under the age of 5. It therefore becomes extremely important to watch the child carefully as well as objects or items that surround them in case they get a convulsion.

Mental health issues

According to a report by the National Autistic Society (NAS) those with autism are a high risk of such conditions as anxiety, depression, mood swings and impulsive behavior. This may be attributed to the fact that a majority of them have difficulties forming close relationships such as friendships. As a result they may be unable to effectively communicate and share with others around them. In some cases, the child tends to be aggressive, and may even hurt him or herself in the process.

Tuberous sclerosis

Tuberous sclerosis is a rare disorder. It causes the growth or benign tumors in the organs of autism patients and can even spread to the brain. According to a variety of studies, it has been shown that the rates of ASD tend to be higher among children with the condition as compared to others.

Mental impairment

Mental impairment has been observed in autistic children. Among young boys, one of the most common impairment is the defect on a particular section of the X chromosome (the fragile x syndrome)

Cognitive challenges

Cognitive deficits are not regarded as a primary feature of the disorder. However, they have been shown to be very common among the children with this disorder. Among children with autism, there tends to be unevenness in their development as well as abilities. For example, whereas the child may be a math genius, he/she may have a lot of difficulties reading. Some may prove to have excellent memory abilities while others would have extraordinary talents in other fields such as music.

Why Learn About It?

Raising a child with Autism may require addition attention on the part of the parent, and those around the child, which is why it is important to learn and understand all about autism. This would help develop a better understanding of the needs of the child, and how to take good care of them.

It's not sympathy they need, just an understanding of their condition and thus the way to interact with them. You can share more on autism with us in the comment section. Maybe share your experiences with autism or with those who have autism. It would be great to share and educate each other on the topic, don't you think?

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