What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder? Here's Everything You Should Know About It

Autism spectrum disorder is a condition which is related to brain development that impacts how a person interacts with others, perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication.

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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder? Here's Everything You Should Know About It

ASD is a broad term which is used to describe a group of neuro developmental disorders.


Highlights

  1. ASD is a neurological and developmental disorder
  2. It affects how a person acts and interacts with others
  3. As such there is no cure for autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. ASD is a broad term which is used to describe a group of neuro developmental disorders. It affects how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates and learns. Autism spectrum disorder is a condition which is related to brain development that impacts how a person interacts with others, perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes stereotyped interests, limited and repetitive patterns of behavior. The term "spectrum" in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity.

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The disorder also includes stereotyped interests, limited and repetitive patterns of behavior.
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: World Autism Awareness Day 2018 Focuses On Empowering Women And Girls With Autism

Main causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder include:

  •  Low birth weight
  •  Genetic factors
  •  Pregnancy complications
  •  Being born to older parents
  •  An immediate family member suffering from autism
  •  Metabolic imbalances
  •  A history of viral infections

Children or adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder might:

  •  Not point at objects to show interest
  •  Not look at objects when another person points at them
  •  Have trouble relating to others or do not show any interest in other people at all
  •  Avoid eye contact while talking to others
  •  Want to be alone all the time
  •  Have trouble understanding other people's feelings or have trouble expressing their own feelings
  •  Prefer not to be held or cuddled
  •  Difficulty in developing and maintain relationships
  •  Appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds
  •  Be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, communicate, or relate to them
  •  Repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
  •  Repeat some actions over and over again
  •  Have trouble adapting to a new routine
  •  Have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
  •  Lose certain skills they once had

Some behaviours of people with autism include:

  • Acts of self-injury
  • Unable to communicate with others
  • Abnormal eating, drinking or sleeping habits
  • Lack of fear or irrational fears
  • Limited activities and areas of interestsndtv
  • Mood abnormalities
  • Short attention span
  • Unusual responses to stimuli

Also read: World Autism Awareness Day 2018: You Doubt Your Child Could Have Autism? Look Out For These 3 Signs!

Preventing and treating autism spectrum disorder:

As such there is no cure for autism. Medication may be used to reduce some of the symptoms, such as severe aggression, interacting with others or self-destructive behaviour. However, the most effective treatment available for this disorder is behavioral intervention and modification. There are certain programs that are usually highly structured and focus on developing the child's language and social skills. Therapy is also most effective if it is started at an early age. Along with psychiatric care, children with autism are also benefited from working with a multidisciplinary team which consists of parents, teachers, psychologists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists. Individualized treatment based on each child's needs is also important along with sufficient access to a health care team. Early treatment that is maintained over a long period of time may be beneficial and some children will improve their language and social skills as they grow older. The quality of life for individuals with autism can improve slowly and gradually as communication is enhanced and daily experiences become more meaningful.

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Medication may be used to reduce some of the symptoms, such as severe aggression, interacting with others or self-destructive behaviour.
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: World Autism Awareness Day 2018: 7 Early Signs And Symptoms Of Autism In Children

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.



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