Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What is Autism - The Real Truth

Autism is constantly in the news - what with Jenny McCarthy talking about it with Larry King and Oprah, President Obama giving priority to autism research and funding, news reports of an autism epidemic etc. - but what exactly is autism? Is every autistic person a savant or like Dustin Hoffman in "Rainman"?

The Many Faces of Autism

There is a saying about autism having many faces and this is indeed true. All autistic people, whether children or adults, are individuals with their own personality traits, symptoms, challenges and needs. However, if you or your child are diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, then you will have one of five types of autism spectrum disorder:-

  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
  • PDD-NOS or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified)
  • Rett Syndrome
  • Autism - Also referred to as SLD Autism or Kanner's Syndrome

Sufferers of each of these five autism spectrum disorders share a "triad of impairments", or three common characteristics, though with varying degrees. All three of these common impairments are to do with socialization and social skills.

The Triad of Impairments

1) Difficulty with Interaction

All autistic people have some difficulty interacting with those around them. This impairment covers problems making friends and "fitting in", difficulty mixing with their peers, problems understanding social rules and the rules of conversation, and not picking up on other people's feelings or showing their own in an inappropriate manner.

2) Difficulty with Social Imagination

This second impairment is to do with empathy and understanding consequences. An autistic person many have problems understanding the feelings and actions of other, coping with change, planning for the future, coping with new situations and experiences, understanding risks and dangers, and playing imaginatively.

3) Difficulty Communicating

All autistic people have some degree of difficulty either with communicating or with understanding communication. Some sufferers will have problems with speech, some will not understand the different ways people communicate - gestures, body language and facial expressions, others will take things that people say quite literally and not understand jokes or sarcasm, and some just will not understand how conversation works and will interrupt or change the subject.

Other Common Characteristics

Although there are only three characteristics which are common to all of the autism spectrum disorders, some of them do share other characteristics and difficulties:-

  • Sensory sensitivity - Many parents report that their autistic children are either hypersensitive or hyposensitive. Hypersensitivity is when a child is over-sensitive to touch, tastes, noises and smells. Hyposensitivity is the complete opposite and may mean that a child has problems with fine motor skills, like doing up buttons, and may not be able to feel pain.
  • Obsessions - It is common for many autistic children to become "fixated" on a certain hobby or interest.
  • Learning disabilities - Some autistic children have learning problems and may need special support at school. Some autistic people also have problems like dyspraxia, dyslexia or ADHD.
  • A need for fixed rules and routine - As I have said, it is common for autistic people to have problems coping with change and new experiences. An autistic child may cope better if they have a predictable daily routine.
  • Problems with daily chores and actions - Things that the rest of us take for granted, like brushing our teeth, washing and making our beds, may be difficult for an autistic child or adult to remember and do.

Can Autism be Cured?

This question is highly controversial and has been debated many times. There are three main schools of thought:-

  • Some people believe that autism is an incurable disability which, although it can be treated and managed, cannot be cured.
  • People like Jenny McCarthy believe that an autistic person can "recover" from autism, just like a person recovers from a car accident. Jenny's autistic son was treated with biomedical interventions and is now no longer on the autism spectrum. Many people would say that he is "cured".
  • Other people are pushing for autism to be accepted, rather than treated. These people believe that they or their children are not "broken" and do not need "fixing" or "curing", they want to be accepted as they are.

What do I think?

I believe that the triggers and causes of autism can be combated with biomedical treatments and that autism is treatable and curable.

DAN! Physician Chun Wong is blogging the whole truth and nothing but the truth on Autism, HBOT and all the Biomedical approaches on his weekly blog.

If you're ready to start improving the health of your autistic child, to make sound judgements, and to have more knowledge, get all the breakthrough news now at http://www.NewAutismCure.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Chun_Wong

No comments:

Post a Comment