Autism is a brain disorder which affects three main areas of human development: speech, communication, and social interaction. It is a spectrum disorder, meaning that two people with autism may have very different symptoms or characteristics.
Children have autism may have the following characteristics in their behaviors and may vary greatly in the degrees of severity.
– Spin objects or self
– Sustained unusual or repetitive play
– Little, avoid or no eye contact
– Prefer to be alone
– Delay in language development
– Insistence on sameness
– Uneven physical skills
– Laugh, cry, or show distress for unknown reasons
– Over-active or under-active
– Difficult to express needs, use gestures instead of speaking
– Repeat words or phrases in meaningless way
– Inappropriate attachment to objects
– Reject or avoid personal touch such as holding or hugging
– Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
– Oversensitivity or under-sensitivity to pain
– Failure to develop peer relationships
There is no medical test for autism. An autism diagnosis must be carried out by a team of professionals through observation and testing of the child. Usually, this can be diagnosed when the child is 2 -3 years old.
Up to now, no single cause or cure has been identified although there is extensive research on the subject.
However, autism is definitely not a result of poor parenting or the children being spoiled. Some researchers seem to suggest that it is caused by both genetic and environmental factors such as vaccines or environmental toxins.
Adaptability and intelligence tests shows that most children with autism have some level of mental retardation. However, some people with autism have average to above average intelligence. A few even have superior IQs.
In conventional medicine, autism is considered a neurological disorder which has no cure. However, there has been a number of theories, researches and evidence showing that early intervention is extremely important to the child's development and many behaviors can be positively changed.
Today, with wide research on this subject, different educational approaches and strategies have been developed and provided to provide positive results. Some children or adult, to untrained people, may appear just do not have autism at all. Studies show that highly-structured, specialized education program tailor to the child's individual needs has positive outcomes. However, there is no single teaching method for autism.
Other treatment may help include medicine, diet, vitamins, occupational and sensory therapies. It is reported that some parents find that their children's symptoms and behaviors improved by following biomedical approaches such as gluten and casein free diet and with the addition of nutritional supplements.