Definition of Autism
A serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. It is a mental condition present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language or abstract concepts.
Facts About Autism
- Autism is fairly common disorder.
- Autism is a chronic condition. Chronic : Can last for years or be life-long. .
- There are more than 200,000 US cases each year.
- It requires a medical diagnosis.
- Lab tests or imagery are rarely required.
- The symptoms of autism have a wide range of severity. The most common symptoms include difficulty with communication or social interactions, obsessive interests, and repetitive behavior.
- "Give and Take" type of conversation is difficult for autistic people. It makes it easier if it is a subject they enjoy though.
- Our senses shape our brain connections, most actively during certain windows of development called “critical periods” or “sensitive periods.” In autism these periods may be disrupted.
(Not each autistic person has every one of these symptoms. It is just a list of ones that they could have.)
- Communication Difficulties - People may have difficulty developing language skills and understanding what others say to them. They also may have problems nonverbally, with examples such as through hand gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. They have a difficulty to interpret body language tone of voice, and expressions that are not meant to be taken literally. An example of this would be sarcasm. They miss social and communication cues. In autism there may be a wide range of severity of this.
- Social Challenges - People that seem to exist in a private world where they are unable to successfully interact with others. They tend to have narrow interests. Some people affected my autism may be able to deliver an in-depth conversation about a subject that they are interested in, even though they may not be able to carry on a conversation about the same topic.
Other Symptoms :
- Seizure Disorders
- Genetic Disorders
- Sleep Dysfunction
- Sensory Processing Problems
- Repetitive Behaviors
- Obsessive Interests
- Pica - The tendency to eat items that are not food. It most frequently occurs between the ages of 18 and 24 months. Although, it can still continue in children and adulthood.
Cause of Disorder
- No known single cause of Autism. Most think it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Researchers are looking into a number of theories including the links among heredity, genetics and medical issues.
- "Other researchers are investigating the possibility that a cluster of unstable genes may interfere with brain development, resulting in autism. )Still other researchers are investigating problems during pregnancy or delivery as well as environmental factors such as viral infections, metabolic imbalances and exposure to chemicals" (Autism Society).
- Autism cannot be cured, but treatment may help.
- Early recognition of the disorder, as well as educational, behavorial, and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning.
I have an autistic brother who is a senior at Grovetown High School. He experiences both of the main symptoms and a few of the others. He is a very friendly person and enjoys talking to others. He is more on the mild side of severity but we still do have our difficulties.
I am also in Buddy Club at Grovetown High School. My buddy's name is Levi and he is in the same class with my brother. I visit him every week and see him in the hall. He always loves to greet me with a hug! The Buddy Club will be heading off to Special Olympics soon this month and I get to accompany him in his activities.
This explains the symptoms a little bit more in depth through a chart.
Multi-color ribbons like these are a symbol for Autism.