Written & Researched By: Trinity Nguyen
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common genetic mutation that becomes prevalent in early childhood. Every year 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with ASD with 1 in 34 being boys and 1 in 133 being girls, making boys more common to being diagnosed with ASD. Children are usually diagnosed with ASD in their first two years but symptoms of ASD can also be less prevalent and hidden. There is no definite medical procedure to determine whether someone has ASD but a variety of tests can be done that will confirm if a person shows the symptoms of ASD. ASD is defined as a developmental disability that causes damage to certain skills that the average person could perform.
The main cause of autism would be genetics. Autism is a genetic mutation that occurs when a child is born. Apart from genetics, there are also other causes, including a child who has older parents and a family that has an older child with ASD. Although some parents believe that vaccines cause autism, this statement is false and has been disproven various times.
Signs and Symptoms:
There are various signs that can show if a person is showing symptoms related to ASD, including problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. Plus, people with ASD think about and look at things that they see differently than everyone around them. This is because their minds are wired differently giving them strengths in certain areas and weaknesses in other areas. There are multiple challenges that people have to live with when having ASD including being nonverbal, having an intellectual disability and self-injurious tendencies. Being nonverbal is one of the larger symptoms of ASD coming in at 40% of people having it. Intellectual disabilities are also common and 31% of children find it difficult to learn in school. Self-injurious tendencies are also common among children, especially children around the age of 8. Medical conditions can also form due to the symptoms of ASD. A common condition that forms is ADHD because the intellectual aspect of the ADHD clicks with the ASD, making them work with each other to control the mind. Depression and anxiety disorders are also common when it comes down to autism as well. Not all people with autism are treated fairly and are sometimes neglected, leading to depression. The anxiety occurs because that one part of the brain that the ADHD and ASD effect are not in sync and something may not seem like it is in place, leading to the anxiousness.
There is no cure for autism necessarily but there are ways to decrease the effect that ASD has on your life. There are different types of therapy and interventions that can help as well. ASD being caught early and having intervention early on can affect the long term outcome. The different types of treatments include, behavior and communication approaches, dietary approaches, medication, and complementary and alternative approaches.
Behavior and Communications Approaches:
There are different forms of behavior and communications approaches and one that is specifically highlighted is Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA. ABA encourages good behavior and discourages bad behavior. Within the ABA treatment, there are also different forms like discrete trial training, early intensive behavioral intervention, early start Denver model, pivotal response training, and verbal behavior intervention. All of these forms of ABA help patients with ASD cope with the struggles and teach them how to live with the disorder.