Autism as described by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH), also referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.
Autistic disorder is the most severe form of ASD. Other conditions on the spectrum include a milder form of autism are known as Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Autism affects every age group and person differently and can happen to anyone regardless of race or economic background. Experts estimate that 1 out of 88 children age 8 will have an ASD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 30, 2012). Males are four times more likely to have an ASD than females.
Autism is not a form of mental retardation, the presence of psychosis or the proof of bad parenting. Scientists have not pinpointed a singular cause of autism but speculate genetic syndromes, illness during pregnancy or severe infections to the brain may be some of the causes. Currently, there is no cure for autism as it is a lifelong disorder but autism may be treated by speech therapy, educational and behavioral interventions, medications and several other therapies along with love, patience and understanding.
If you suspect your child has autism, immediately have your child screened by a team of healthcare professionals.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH) – Autism Fact Sheet – http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) – Autism ( Autism Spectrum Disorder) – http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Autism/