What Is Autism?
Autism is a name given to several different conditions. These conditions fall on something known as the ‘autism spectrum’. This is an incredibly broad spectrum. It is believed that one in every one hundred people suffer from autism to some degree. However, it is worth noting that for many people, the symptoms are so mild that they may never even end up being diagnosed with the condition.
What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder, which we will now refer to as autism for short, is a name given to issues in brain development. While these issues can cause a number problems, they most often manifest themselves in social interaction and communication. From time to time, those suffering from autism may also deal with repetitive behavior or they may become ‘over stimulated’ easily.
Generally speaking, the signs and symptoms of autism, which we will discuss in a short while, will manifest themselves from the age of three and upwards. However, as we mentioned at the start, some people have such mild autism that their symptoms go unnoticed. This means that they are never diagnosed with the condition. While it is impossible to cure autism, it can be managed to some degree. However, without proper diagnosis, people may not receive the management techniques that they need. This can make day-to-day life difficult.
What causes autism?
The truth is. We don’t really know. We do know that the symptoms of the condition begin during the first few years of life. This gives us some indication that it is down to early brain development, perhaps after birth. However, we do not know what triggers this. However, there is some indication that it may be down to genetics or the environment that a person has been raised in. Certain factors have been known to increase the risk of autism:
- Older parents at the time of birth
- Oxygen deprivation when born
- Maternal illness during pregnancy
However, it is worth noting that none of these can cause autism directly, they just increase the risk.
Signs and Symptoms of Autism
Since autism is a name given to a broad spectrum of diseases, the signs and symptoms are also very broad. It is worth noting that not every person on the ‘spectrum’ will suffer the same symptoms. They may not even suffer them to the same extent has somebody else. You have to remember that everybody is an individual! The most common signs and symptoms of autism include the following:
Social interaction issues. For example, a person may find it hard to communicate with others. They may prefer to be on their own with minimal social interaction as possible. When they are put in a social environment, they may not know how to act. For example, those with autism may have difficulty reading vocal and facial cues. Others may not know when it is their turn to speak or when to let others speak. They may also be reluctant to make eye contact.
In some, language development may be poor. Some people may be barely able to string together a sentence. Others may know ‘sophisticated’ words, but they tend to use it in an incorrect manner.
Some people on the spectrum will really love ‘routine’. They need to stick to the same routine each and every day, otherwise they become ‘triggered’. Many people who suffer from autism may have symptoms which are very similar to OCD.
Autism is not a condition that you will be able to diagnose on your own. If you believe you, or your child, is suffering from autism then you will need to talk to a doctor. They will be able to carry out several tests which will help to diagnose the condition. They will also be able to provide advice on managing autism.