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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopment disorder denoted by repetitive behavior where the person faces difficulty in communicating. The term ‘spectrum’ used in this disorder indicates broad range of symptoms, skills and levels of disability in functioning.
It is mainly due to genetic factors. Due to the complexity of the disease, there is no single cause and the causes might vary.
- Genetic disorders like Rett syndrome or Fragile X syndrome
- Some genes may hinder the brain development and activities
Autism because of environmental factors is still under research.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS –
The symptoms of Autism vary from child to child. Some may develop it in early infancy whereas others may develop it by the age of 2. The common symptoms are:
- Doesn’t respond on call
- Poor eye contact and absence of facial expression
- Fails to understand directions or simple questions
- Prefers playing alone, involved in own world and resists cuddling and holding
- Doesn't speak much or has delayed speech but has an abnormal tone or rhythm while speaking and may use a robot-like speech or a sing song voice
- Can’t start a conversation or involve in one, starts only to make a request
- Repetitive actions
- Resistant to feelings and emotions
- Difficulty in understanding nonverbal cues
- Passive, aggressive or disruptive approach to a social group
- Self- harm like biting or head banging
- No change in daily routine and gets disturbed on slightest change
- Sensitive to sound and touch
- Specific food preferences
Autism is diagnosed by seeing the symptoms and doing a screen test.
There is no cure for Autism. It can be controlled by:
- Behavioral / Educational interventions
RISK FACTORS –
- Pre-existing genetic disease conditions
- Premature babies
- More age gap between children and parent can increase the chances of having Autism in the child
Problem in socialization may cause other complications like:
- Victimization and being bullied
- Social isolation
- Employment problems
- Problem in learning
- Inability to live independently
- Stress in the family
Tuberous sclerosis and epilepsy may occur along with other genetic disease in more than 20% of cases.
Males are 4 times more prone to develop Autism than females.