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Autism Spectrum Disorder (In Children and Adults)

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Autism facts

  • Autism and related disorders are now referred to as autism spectrum disorders.
  • Characteristics of autism include impaired development in social interaction, communication, and behavior.
  • The degree of autism varies from mild to severe.
  • Severely afflicted persons with autism can appear to have a profound intellectual disabilty. Research tends to continue to refute the idea that immunizations cause autism.
  • The cause of autism is unknown.
  • The optimal treatment of autism involves an educational or vocational program that is suited to the developmental level of the child or adult, respectively.
  • It is important for the unique medical and mental-health needs of people with autism to be addressed in order to optimize both their life expectancy and quality of life.
  • Persons with autism and those who care for them often engage in advocacy activities like the walk for autism during April, Autism Awareness Month.

What is autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder that is characterized by impaired development in communication, social interaction, and behavior. It affects the lives of many children and their families. It tends to affect more boys than girls.

In the past, autism has been confused with childhood schizophrenia or childhood psychosis, and may have been misunderstood as schizotypal personality disorder in some adults. As additional research information about autism becomes available, the scope and definition of the condition continues to become more refined. Some of the past confusion about the disorder has been resolved.

How does autism impact the family?

Having a family member with autism presents emotional, social, and financial challenges. The stress placed on parents and other family members of people with autism can be influenced by a number of factors. Examples of such factors include how well the person with autism functions, how much social support the family receives, and sometimes the ethnicity of the person's parents. Siblings of children and teens with autism seem to fare better in their understanding and acceptance of the family member with autism when provided with education about their loved one's condition.

What are the different types of autism?

The group of disorders that formerly included autism, pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger's syndrome, and sometimes Rett's disorder and childhood integrative disorder are are now referred to as autism spectrum disorders. The range of these disorders varies from severely impaired individuals that were formerly described as suffering from autism to other, more high-functioning individuals who have abnormalities of social interaction but normal intelligence, who were described as having Asperger's syndrome. The ways in which autism spectrum disorders are exhibited can differ greatly. Additionally, autism can be found in association with other disorders such as mental retardation and certain medical conditions. The degree of autism can range from mild to severe. Mildly affected individuals may appear very close to normal. Severely afflicted individuals may have an extreme intellectual disability and be unable to function in almost any setting.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/5/2015

Source: MedicineNet.com
https://www.medicinenet.com/autism_and_communication/article.htm

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