What Is Autism?
Autism is the most common condition in a group of serious developmental problems called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD can affect a child’s ability to communicate effectively, socialize with others and, demonstrate appropriate behavior skills. Although there is no known cure for autism, early diagnosis and intervention can give children with autism the best opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
What causes autism?
Autism has no single, known cause. Given the complexity of the disease, and the fact that symptoms and severity vary, there are probably many causes. Both genetics and environment may play a role. Several genes appear to be involved in autism. Some may make a child more susceptible to the disorder. Others affect brain development or the way that brain cells communicate. Still others may determine the severity of symptoms. Each problem in genes may account for a small number of cases, but taken together, the influence of genes is likely substantial. Researchers are currently exploring whether such factors as viral infections, complications during pregnancy and air pollutants play a role in triggering autism; but as of today, no one can really say with certainty what causes Autism.
How common Is autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is estimated to affect more than 2 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. Autism statistics suggest that there has been a 10 to 17 percent annual increase in recent years.Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. There is no established explanation for this continuing increase, although improved diagnosis and environmental influences are two reasons often considered.
Learn the signs of autism
One of the most important things you can do as a parent or caregiver is to learn the early signs of autism and become familiar with the typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching.
The following “red flags” may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, please don’t delay in asking your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
- No babbling by 12 months
- No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s development, don’t wait. Speak to your doctor now about screening your child for autism.
Characteristics of Autism–>(Eng)