The causes of autistic spectrum disorder are not clearly understood. However, experts believe that genetics play a prominent role. For example, if one sibling of a twin has autism, the other has more than 90% chance of developing the disorder. In some cases, brain injury during birth has also been identified as the cause of autism.
Recent research suggests that disruption of the brain during the early stages of foetal developmental is probably the main cause of autism. This disorder is not related in any way with parental practices.
It is diagnosed by the presence of three different classes of symptoms. These include low levels of social interaction, low levels of development of communication skills and repetitive or restricted behaviour patterns. Self injury is also not uncommon.
The early symptoms of autism are generally noticed by parents at about the time a child reaches two years of age, though the symptoms can begin to manifest as early as six months. Sometimes, the child develops normally for the first few months and then begins to regress and show signs. Even as a baby, an autistic child will display marked lack of social interaction. Normal pointing and babbling at the age of 1 year fails to develop. The child does not respond to names and does not respond to smiling or social contact. Instead, the child exhibits poor eye contact and may show obsessive behaviour with toys or other objects.
As the child grows up, the symptoms become more and more pronounced. They fail to socialize normally or to make friends. Instead, they seem obsessively occupied with certain objects. They fail to initiate or to hold up conversations and their pattern of language use is either repetitive or unusual. They become extremely pre-occupied with the routine while there is very little imaginative or social play.
Once these symptoms begin to appear, it is necessary to take the child to specialized health care professionals to diagnose if he is autistic. A multidisciplinary team is required to conduct a number of tests including neurological tests, cognitive tests and language tests to confirm whether the child has autism or not.
Last, but not the least, there are professionals engaged in providing specialised treatment. Hence, it would be advised to conduct a thorough research in order to select a right practitioner in this sphere. Make sure the medical practitioner you choose, can help you with the right advice and results.
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