A complex biological disorder which includes symptoms such as difficulty with speech and communication, having abnormal posture or gestures, difficulty with understanding the feelings of others, sensory or visual misunderstandings, excessive fears or anxieties, as well as obsessive or compulsive behavior is known as autism. Of the millions of individuals afflicted with autism, boys are four times more susceptible to autism than girls are. This unfortunate condition can, at times, limits just how normal the afflicted is able to live their life. With autism, there are a wide variety of severities, from mild to severe, determining just how much of a challenge everyday tasks actually are.
Perhaps the most difficult thing for autistic individuals to do is communicate and understand the feelings or needs of others. This puts up a huge boundary for the autistic person(s) and we find that they tend to be more shy or anti-social because of this; they often seem distant or completely unaware of their surroundings. In line with this, the afflicted may also find themselves extremely sensitive to certain noises, touches, or various other sensory information. The pain from these senses varies, and can cause great pain to the individual at times. Autistic individuals are also associated with repetitive body movements or gestures such as the jerking movements or rocking back and forth. Autistic individuals are also prone to becoming attached to particular people or objects, and can become aggressive if another tries to alter their daily routine. Autistic individuals sometimes experience seizures later on in adolescence.
The autism diagnosis is difficult to pinpoint, so there generally are a variety of tests to determine whether a child has autism or another disorder. Some of the warning signs or indicators early on that a child might have autism include no pointing or babbling by 12 months, no response to names, no single words by 16 months or phrases by age 2, lack of eye contact, and little social responsiveness. As the child grows it is easier to see signs and symptoms such as the lack of making friends with peers, stereotyped language or movements, no imaginative or social play, and inflexibility in routines. Questionnaires and screenings often happen with the parents to determine just how severe the symptoms of autism are in the child.
There is no known cause for autism, even though it has been linked to mercury and genetics. In line with this, abnormal levels of both serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain play a role. Also, those families with twins or who have the chance of twins often are predisposed to autism or its symptoms. The signs and symptoms of autism often improve with age, and normal lives are able to be lived.
Autism is treated with intense therapies and a variety of medications depending on the severity. With the right combination of treatments, an autistic individual can lead a normal and happy life. With research ever on the rise, a cure or cause for autism is on the horizon.