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Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autistic Disorder

Autistic Disorder, otherwise commonly known as Autism, is a disorder where the development of the brain is impaired. Some common symptoms include impaired communication and social reclusiveness. The disorder inhibits the brain’s ability to process information by affecting the nerve cells and how they communicate with each other. However, it is still not understood how this happens or what causes this abnormality to occur.

Autism is usually diagnosed during childhood and tends to affect the individual through adulthood. There are also varying degrees of the disorder and it is believed to affect individuals regardless of ethnic group, socioeconomic status or age demographic.

Signs

One of the most common symptoms among children is a delay in the development of verbal communication skills. However, the problem can be much more serious since it is reported that 40 percent of individuals diagnosed with autism may never speak.

If you suspect that your child may have autism, it is also important to pay attention to the way that they interact with others since many individuals suffering from autism have a difficult time relating to others. There are a variety of reasons why this may be the case, such as a lack of common interest with their peers and failure to understand another person’s feelings such as pain and sadness. Both of the above cases are very common characteristics of individuals with autism.

Causes

It is believed that there is a very strong genetic link in cases of autistic disorder. However, there is no consensus on which specific genes will contribute to this disorder. Another factor that is believed to contribute to the chances of developing this disease includes the age of the parents when the child is conceived. This is sometimes referred to as advanced maternal age, and is defined as the mother being over the age of 35 when the child is born. The increased risk of the disease has also been linked to diabetes and the use of drugs during pregnancy.

It is also believed that viral infections prior to childbirth may also greatly increase the risk of developing autism. Exposure to viruses during pregnancy may change the mother’s immune response which will leave the unborn child at high risk of developing the disease.

Management

Depending on the age of the individual diagnosed with autistic disorder, education has generally been found to be very effective in helping individuals manage the disorder. If a child is diagnosed with the disorder at a young age, behavior therapy programs and special education courses can provide them with the essential tools they need to live successful lives.

In more extreme cases, the individual may need to use prescription drugs to manage the disorder. Individuals suffering from autism are usually prescribed a psychoactive drug that targets the central nervous system and enhances perception, behavior and mood. Individuals exhibiting more extreme symptoms including manic depression may even need to take antipsychotic drugs to help manage the symptoms. Since some of the medications may have adverse affects – a thorough assessment will need to be completed by a physician.

Prognosis

To date, there is no cure for autistic disorder. There have been some cases of recovery reported, however the recovery rate is believed to be as low as 3 %.

Many children with autism learn to speak by the time they enter kindergarten. It is only in more extreme cases where the individual will have permanently inhibited language skills.

There are different education programs and prescription drugs that may help an individual manage and come to terms with the disorder. Many individuals will often find that one or the other works, however in some cases a combination of the two will be required. The symptoms are often less severe as the individual ages. This is primarily due to the fact that they will have established their own personal coping mechanisms and will have learned how to effectively manage the condition.

 

 

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