Autism s a complex developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, although it is sometimes diagnosed much later. It affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills.
Common features of autism include impaired social interactions, impaired verbal and nonverbal communication, problems processing information from the senses, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior.
Pervasive developmental disorder - autism
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Autism is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. The exact causes of these abnormalities remain unknown, but this is a very active area of research. There are probably a combination of factors that lead to autism.
Genetic factors seem to be important. For example, identical twins are much more likely than fraternal twins or siblings to both have autism. Similarly, language abnormalities are more common in relatives of autistic children. Chromosomal abnormalities and other neurological problems are also more common in families with autism.
A number of other possible causes have been suspected, but not proven. They involve digestive tract changes, diet, mercury poisoning, vaccine sensitivity, and the body's inefficient use of vitamins and minerals.
The exact number of children with autism is not known. A report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that autism and related disorders are more common than previously thought, although it is unclear if this is due to an increasing rate of the illness or an increased ability to diagnose the illness.
Autism affects boys 3 to 4 times more often than girls. Family income, education, and lifestyle do not seem to affect the risk of autism.
Some parents have heard that the MMR Vaccine that children receive may cause autism. This theory was based, in part, on two facts. First, the incidence of autism has increased steadily since around the same time the MMR vaccine was introduced. Second, children with the regressive form of autism (a type of autism that develops after a period of normal development) tend to start to show symptoms around the time the MMR vaccine is given. This is likely a coincidence due to the age of children at the time they receive this vaccine.
Several major studies have found NO connection between the vaccine and autism, however. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention report that there is no proven link between autism and the MMR vaccine.
Some doctors attribute the increased incidence in autism to newer definitions of autism. The term "autism" now includes a wider spectrum of children. For example, a child who is diagnosed with high-functioning autism today may have been thought to simply be odd or strange 30 years ago.
Most parents of autistic children suspect that something is wrong by the time the child is 18 months old and seek help by the time the child is 2. Children with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interactions, and pretend play. In some, aggression -- toward others or self -- may be present.
Some children with autism appear normal before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly "regress" and lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is called the regressive type of autism.
People with autism may perform repeated body movements, show unusual attachments to objects or have unusual distress when routines are changed. Individuals may also experience sensitivities in the senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste. Such children, for example, will refuse to wear "itchy" clothes and become unduly distressed if forced because of the sensitivity of their skin. Some combination of the following areas may be affected in varying degrees.
Cannot start or sustain a social conversation
Develops language slowly or not at all
Repeats words or memorized passages, such as commercials
Does not refer to self correctly (for example, says "you want water" when the child means "I want water")
Uses nonsense rhyming Communicates with gestures instead of words
Shows a lack of empathy
Does not make friends
Prefers to spend time alone, rather than with others
May not respond to eye contact or smiles
May actually avoid eye contact
May treat others as if they are objects
Does not play interactive games
Has heightened or low senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste
Seems to have a heightened or low response to pain
May withdraw from physical contact because it is over stimulating or overwhelming
Does not startle at loud noises
May find normal noises painful and hold hands over ears
Rubs surfaces, mouths or licks objects
Shows little pretend or imaginative play
Doesn't imitate the actions of others
Prefers solitary or ritualistic play
Has a short attention span
Uses repetitive body movements
Shows a strong need for sameness
"Acts up" with intense tantrums
Has very narrow interests
Demonstrates preservation (gets stuck on a single topic or task)
Shows aggression to others or self
Is overactive or very passive
Babbling by 12 months
Gesturing (pointing, waving bye-bye) by 12 months
Single words by 16 months
Two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months (not just echoing)
Loss of any language or social skills at any age.
Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised (ADI-R)
Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
Childhood Autism rating Scale (CARS)
Gilliam Autism Rating Scale
Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Test-Stage 3
Dr Harshad Raval MD[hom] Honorary consultant homeopathy physician to his Excellency governors of Gujarat India. Qualified MD consultant homeopath ,International Homeopathy adviser, books writer and columnist. Specialist in kidney, cancer, psoriasis, leucoderma and other chronic disease,. www.homeopathyonline.in email : email@example.com http://www.homeopathyonline.in/cerebral.htm#AUTISAMCHILD