Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Causes & Symptoms

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the ability to communicate, socialize, and interact with others. The number of people diagnosed with autism is growing at an alarming rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 children has been diagnosed with the condition. There’s a good reason why: autism is more common than you think. Many people think that the only people who are affected by the condition are those who have a diagnosis. In reality, many of us can be affected by autism. Some of us may experience some of the symptoms, while others may not experience any at all.

Causes

There are many causes of autism. Although it’s very difficult to pinpoint the cause, we do know that genes and the environment both play a role.

Several different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder, and for some children, autism spectrum disorder may be associated with a genetic disorder, such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome.

For most children, a gene mutation increases the risk of developing autism. Other genes affect brain development or the way that brain cells communicate, or they may determine the severity of symptoms.

Research is currently underway to see if certain viruses, medications, complications during pregnancy, or air pollutants cause autism spectrum disorders.

Symptoms

Autism. Some children show signs of autism spectrum disorder in early infancy, such as a lack of interest in their surroundings, lack of response to their name, and indifference to caregivers. Others may develop normally for the first few months or years of life, but then suddenly become withdrawn or aggressive or lose language skills they’ve already acquired.

Most individuals with autism spectrum disorder have distinctive behaviors and levels of severity that vary from child to child. Some children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulties learning, and some have signs of lower than average intelligence.

It is not always easy to understand other people, but it is also not easy to be autistic. People with this disorder tend to have high levels of intelligence. They can learn quickly, but they can find it difficult to communicate and apply what they know to daily life and social situations.

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Because of the variety of symptoms in each child, severity is often difficult to determine. It’s usually based on the level of impairment and how it impacts the ability to function.

Many people who have autism or Asperger’s syndrome (ASD) exhibit a set of common behavioral patterns. Below are some examples of these behavioral patterns: * Does not respond to questions, sounds, and social cues. * Reacts in extreme ways to certain stimuli. * Doesn’t understand social norms and conventions. * Displays poor social skills, may be withdrawn, and shows unusual behaviors.

Risk factors

One of the most important things you can do for your child’s health is to eat healthy food. We’ve identified 10 common food-borne illnesses that may lead to illness and even hospitalization.

Many kids with autism spectrum disorder are diagnosed at a young age, so their needs can be met early on. This gives them a better chance of developing a more normal life. Sometimes, families with one child with autism spectrum disorder have an increased risk of having another child with the disorder.

It’s not uncommon for people with autism spectrum disorder, a medical condition, or a mental health problem to have other problems too. Sometimes their parents or relatives might experience some of those same challenges too.

Some examples of conditions that may cause autism are fragile X syndrome, an inherited disorder that causes intellectual problems; tuberous sclerosis, a condition in which benign tumors develop in the brain; and Rett syndrome, a genetic condition occurring almost exclusively in girls, which causes slowing of head growth, intellectual disability and loss of purposeful hand use.

Extremely preterm babies are at a higher risk of developing autism spectrum disorder than babies born later in gestation. The parents’ ages may play a role in the development of autism, but more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between these two risk factors and autism.

When to see a doctor?

Babies develop at their own pace, and many don’t follow exact timelines found in some parenting books. But children with autism spectrum disorder usually show some signs of delayed development before age 2 years.

If you’re concerned about your child’s development or you suspect that your child may have autism spectrum disorder, discuss your concerns with your doctor. The symptoms associated with the disorder can also be linked with other developmental disorders.

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Signs of autism spectrum disorder often appear early in development when there are obvious delays in language skills and social interactions. Your doctor may recommend developmental tests to identify if your child has delays in cognitive, language, and social skills, if your child:

  • Doesn’t respond with a smile or happy expression by 6 months
  • Doesn’t mimic sounds or facial expressions by 9 months
  • Doesn’t babble or coo by 12 months
  • Doesn’t gesture — such as point or wave — by 14 months
  • Doesn’t say single word by 16 months
  • Don’t play “make-believe” or pretend by 18 months
  • Don’t say two-word phrases within 24 months
  • Loses language skills or social skills at any age

Prevention

Autism Spectrum Disorder. There’s no way to prevent autism spectrum disorder, but early detection and intervention can help kids who have autism spectrum disorder improve their behaviors, skills, and language abilities.

Children with autism spectrum disorders can learn to function independently. If treatment is started early enough, they may even be able to make some functional changes.

FAQ

1. What is the difference between autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?

Autism and Asperger’s are both on the Autism Spectrum. They are two different things, but they both have some of the same symptoms.

2. What is the difference between an autistic child and a child with Asperger’s?

An autistic child will not talk. He/she may seem like a normal kid, but he/she will not say anything. A child with Asperger’s will have a lot to say, but it will be very difficult to understand.

3. How can I tell if my child has autism?

Parents should watch for the following signs:

  • Does your child prefer to be alone?
  • Does your child have a hard time making friends?
  • Does your child have a hard time with social situations?
  • Does your child have a hard time reading emotions in others?
  • Does your child have a hard time understanding what is said?

4. What is the difference between autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?

Autism is a neurological disorder. It is a lifelong condition. Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of autism.

5. How can I tell if my child has Asperger’s Syndrome?

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Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of autism. The symptoms are very similar to autism.

6. What is the difference between Asperger’s Syndrome and Asperger’s Disorder?

Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of autism. Asperger’s Disorder is a diagnosis that is used when the symptoms are more severe.

7. What causes autism?

There is no known cause of autism. It is believed to be a combination of genetics and environment.

8. How can I tell if my child has a problem with social skills?

Parents should watch for the following signs:

  • Does your child have a hard time making friends?
  • Does your child have a hard time understanding emotions in others?
  • Does your child have a hard time understanding what is said?
  • Does your child have a hard time reading facial expressions?
  • Does your child have a hard time understanding body language?

9. What are the symptoms of autism?

  • Symptoms of autism include:
  • Social problems.
  • Speech problems.
  • Sensory problems.
  • Behavior problems.

10. What is the difference between autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?

Autism and Asperger’s are both on the Autism Spectrum. They are two different things, but they both have some of the same symptoms.

11. What is the difference between an autistic child and a child with Asperger’s?

An autistic child will not talk. He/she may seem like a normal kid, but he/she will not say anything. A child with Asperger’s will have a lot to say, but it will be very difficult to understand.

12. What is the difference between autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?

Autism is a neurological disorder. It is a lifelong condition. Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of autism.

13. How can I tell if my child has Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of autism. The symptoms are very similar to autism.

14. What is the difference between Asperger’s Syndrome and Asperger’s Disorder? Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of autism. Asperger’s Disorder is a diagnosis that is used when the symptoms are more severe.

15. What causes autism?

There is no known cause of autism. It is believed to be a combination of genetics and environment.

 

In conclusion, the best treatment for autism is early intervention, and the earlier the better. A parent or caregiver should seek out professional help immediately. An early diagnosis can improve a child’s chances of having a successful future.

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