What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterised by difficulties in socialisation and communication, and restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviours. Indicators of ASD appear by age two to three, and can be diagnosed by 18 months.
Recognising Signs of Autism
It is important to note that autism is experienced and displayed differently by people with it.
Social communication includes:
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Solitary, prefers to be alone
- Trouble understanding feelings of others
- Facial expressions that do not match what is being said
Repetitive behaviours include:
- Repeats certain behaviours
- Laughs or cries without apparent reason
- Have difficulties with slight changes in schedule or routine
- Interested in numbers, details, or facts
People with ASD may also face difficulties in sleeping and eating. However, they do have strengths in remembering details, and excel in maths or science.
Causes of Autism
There is no exact cause of Autism.
But research has suggested that genetics factors, or having a larger age gap between child and parents can increase the likelihood of having Autism. People with Autism have been found to have abnormalities in areas of the brain linked to language and social functions too.
Psychological environment such as upbringing and social circumstances do not cause autism.
Research has NOT demonstrated a link between vaccinations and autism.
Is Autism Curable?
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that has no cure. No one outgrows autism, but symptoms may lessen with intervention.
Medication may be used for:
- Repetitive behavior
- Attention problems
- Anxiety and depression
Adults with ASD may be involved in behavioral, art, educational, or occupational therapy.
Meanwhile, children with ASD may be involved in play, speech or occupational therapy. Such interventions may include parents and siblings.
These programs (adult and child) can include:
- Learning life skills necessary to live independently
- Breaking down challenging behaviors
- Building upon strengths
- Learning social, communication, and language skills
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