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Health

FACTS ON  AUTISM

BY KEEGAN DIX

Whether you have a child with autism, know a friend or family member with autism or are concerned your child might have autism, we are here to offer the information you need to learn more. Autism affects 1 in every 88 children which means you are not alone.

What is Autism?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects a person’s social and communication skills. Autism is a broad spectrum disorder which means that no two patients will have the exact same symptoms. The severity of symptoms will vary from person to person allowing some to function relatively “normally” and others to require care givers for their entire lives. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is any developmental disabilities that have been caused by a brain abnormality that also affects a person’s social and communication skills. Parents with autistic children or children with ASD face many different challenges due to the unusual signs of autism and ASD.

Signs of Autism
The earlier you can identify signs of autism the better it will be for your child. Knowing the normal developmental milestones your child is expected to make in their 24 months of life will help you identify the absence of them. If these milestones are not met you should be certain to mention it to your doctor at your baby’s check ups. If the signs of autism are not caught early on and you have concerns as your child reaches the age of three or four there are some behaviours you can watch for including speech and language issues, non-verbal communication issues, inflexibility, difficulty adapting to change, obsessive behaviour and self-stimulatory behavior.

Causes of Signs of Autism
There are many factors believed to contribute to the risk of children having Autism including:

  • Fragile X, an inherited intellectual disability illness, is the number one known cause of autism. 15-30% of children with Fragile X have autism and 2-6% of autistic children have been diagnosed with Fragile X.
  • Environmental influences such as household chemicals, older parents, infections or poor nutrition during pregnancy have been considered environmental factors that can contribute to a child showing signs of autism.
  • Studies have shown that 7.5 in 1,000 children born with less than two years between siblings showed signs of autism compared to 2.5 in 1,000 children born more than three years apart.
  • Premature babies born before 33 weeks are twice as likely to show symptoms of autism as those who are taken to full term.
  • Signs of autism were discovered in premature girls more frequently than boys.
  • Vaccinations were believed to cause autism. However, the doctor who led the study was later shown to have falsified his findings.

Signs of Autism and Teens
As your child reaches puberty they will be faced with new challenges. There are many books to help them address issues such as hygiene, sexuality and new dynamics of socializing including dating that will help them to navigate the very overwhelming world of teen life. They will also need special attention to help guide them into adulthood and helping them build their self-esteem as well as to have confidence in their talents will help them make the best decisions for life.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects a person’s social and communication skills. The earlier you can identify signs of autism the better it will be for your child. There are many factors believed to contribute to the risk of children having Autism. For further information you will find more details at signsofautism.org. [http://signsofautism.org/]

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