Thursday, November 24, 2011

Symptoms and Characteristics of Autism

The word autism has become the common used term for all disorders categorized in the autism spectrum, such as Asperger Syndrome and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified). These, and including autism itself, are similar enough in symptoms that they are easily misdiagnosed-and were in the early days of the discovery of this class of disorder. Symptoms and characteristics of such disorders range from mild to severe and despite an overall basic makeup, will affect each bearer differently.

The most common and respected cause of Autism occurs when there is a mutation of the genes. This disorder can occur in both sexes; however, studies have shown that it affects boys more so than girls. Symptoms of this neural development disorder can appear as soon as 6 months of age and will have 'settled in' so to speak between two and three years of age. The earlier the diagnoses the better capable of preparing the child for integration into a 'normal' life-at least in so far is possible for someone with autism.

This disorder affects a child's perception of the world surrounding them. Not only do they see things differently, they compute and learn things differently as well. There is no cure for this syndrome, at least not one that has been tested true but while remission is not a possibility, functioning in society is. Autism cases range in severity. From mild cases and high functioning autistic, to ones suffering with severe mental retardation, each case is unique to the child diagnosed.

Common to all ASD cases however, is a history of repetitive behavior: hand flapping and repetitive movement (stereotypy), arranging items in uniform stacks and lines (compulsive), reacts negatively to changes in schedule and routine (ritualistic), eye poking, skin picking, head banging (self-injury). These behaviors are one of the many difficulties an autistic child will face throughout his/her life. Problems with motor coordination are indicated throughout the spectrum as well however; seem to be more prominent in standard autism. And while these symptoms are indicative of autism and its counterparts, others may develop as a result of the disorder. Gastrointestinal difficulties stem from the fact that diet is often affected in autistic children. Their repetitive and compulsive behaviors will leak over into the nutritional choices and often lead to selectivity in preferred foods-leading to a strong refusal of others. Studies have shown that while this doesn't necessarily cause malnutrition it is a main factor in their GI troubles.

Unfortunately, people tend to think of this disorder in a negative light, and while it is undeniable the negative aspects that an autistic child faces in his/her life-it could prove more beneficial to the child to define it in terms of 'being different'. Autistic children are not sick. They were born and began developing differences in their neural make up. Their brains began developing at a different rate as their bodies progressed steadily at the norm. These children are faced with altered factors in life, but this in no way makes them negatively different. Yes, autistic children will develop differently from other children. They will learn things differently, see things differently, and react to outside stimuli in a different manner. Still, autism while being a neurodevelopmental disorder should in no way be considered a stigma.

For the latest videos and training information on child development as well as books and curricula on Autism please visit

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