What is Autism and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder): Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Autism and ASD are 2 forms of brain’s developing complex disorders. Such disorders are characterized by repetitive behaviors, nonverbal communications and social interaction autism What is Autism and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder): Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatmentdifficulties. They include Rett Syndrome, Autistic Disorders, Asperger Syndrome, PDD – NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified).

ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) might be associated with motor coordination difficulties & physical and attention health issues, including gastrointestinal and sleeping disturbances. Some patients, who have ASD, excel in music, visual skills, art and math.  Autism has its roots in very early development of brain. However, the obvious symptoms and signs of Autism commonly tend to be visible in children between two and three years of age.

Further studies are needed to detect autism at earlier stages in order to start proven behavioral therapies which may improve outcome.  Statistics from CDC (Center for Control & Prevention ) showed that about one in 110 children in America have autism spectrum – 600% increase over the past 2 decades. Researchers revealed that such spike is the only partially explained by awareness and improved diagnosis. The study also revealed that Autism is 3 to 4 times more common in the boys than in girls. Approx. one of seventy boys is diagnosed in the U.S. More children are expected to be diagnosed with Autism this year than with childhood cancer, pediatric aids, or juvenile diabetes combined.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects about 3 million individuals in the United States and 10s of millions around the World. Autism numbers from government’s statistics suggest that Autism cases rate is higher 10 – 17% annually in current years. There are no established explanations for such increase annually; although, environmental influences and improved diagnosis – 2 reasons are considered.

Causes of Autism

Over the past several years, researchers have identified a rare number of mutations or gene changes associated with Autism. These factors are sufficient to result in Autism by themselves. But most Autism cases appear to be resulted from combination of environmental factors & autism risk genes influencing early development of brain.  In the Autism’s genetic predisposition presence, a number of ”environmental” or non-genetic stresses, result in further increase of risk in children. The best evidence of such Autism factors involves events during and before birth. These factors include maternal illness at the time of pregnancy, advanced parental age during of conception (both parents) and specific difficulties at the time of birth, especially those involving oxygen periods deprivation to the brain of baby. It’s important to know that such factors don’t result in Autism. Rather, genetic risk combination factors may increase risk.

Researchers suggest that risk of Autism is less likely to happen in children whose mothers used vitamins containing Folic Acid for months before & after conception. Scientists are also looking at the immune system role in Autism.  Each autistic individual is unique. Many people with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) have exceptional abilities in academic skills, visual and music skills. Approx. 40% have above average or average intellectual abilities. Many of individuals on ”spectrum” take deserved pride in ”atypical” ways of viewing the World and their distinctive abilities. Other autistic individuals are unable to live by themselves and have disability. Approx. 25% of people with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) are nonverbal, but may learn communication by using other means.

Autism mission is – to improve lives of individuals with ASD. For others, this means delivery & development of more effective treatments that may address significant challenges in physical health and communication. And for other ones – support and respect, increasing acceptance.

Treatment of Autism

Each autistic adult or child is unique and each treatment plan must be tailored to address appropriate needs. Intervention way involves medications, behavioral treatment or both combined. Many individuals, who have autism, have extra medical disorders including seizures, sleep disturbances and GI (Gastrointestinal) distress. Treatment of these disorders may improve learning attention and related behaviors. Early behavioral intervention include an affected child’s all family members by working closely with professionals team. In some such programs, the therapist comes home to do all the services. It may include training of parent making therapy sessions under therapist’s supervision. Other programs may be delivered as therapies in preschool, specialized centers or classrooms.

Different support and interventions become appropriate as an autistic children develop & acquire learning and social skills. When children with Autism start school, they might benefit from specialized teaching approaches and targeted social skills. Adolescent, who has Autism, may benefit from transition services which promoting adulthood employment opportunity and successful maturation into independence.

Treatment options for preschool children and toddlers with Autism

Early intervention includes:
1. The program involves a multidisciplinary team including occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist and family doctor.

2. The children get therapeutic structured activities about 25 hours per week.

3. Therapist makes clear his/her respect for the special needs, perspectives and values of the children and their families.

4. Highly trained therapist and teacher deliver the intervention. Well trained paraprofessionals can assist with such intervention under experienced professional with expertise in autism therapy.

5. The program engaged parents in the intervention both – in treatment delivery and making decisions.

6. The programs provide the children with opportunities to interact with typically developing.

7. Intervention focuses on the direct areas affected by Autism. They include communication and language, social skills, motor and daily skills and imitation skills.

8. Therapy is guided by well-defined and specific learning objectives and child’s progress in meeting such objectives should be regularly recorded and evaluated.

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