Every year in April, friends, loved ones and co-workers come together to help increase the understanding and acceptance of people with autism. Approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. If it is diagnosed early, improvements can be made with learning, communication, social skills, and brain development.
What is Autism?
Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) impacts the nervous system. It is a developmental disorder that affects a child’s communication and behavior. Some children with autism may show symptoms from birth, while others may develop more signs as they age.
Autism is also known as a spectrum disorder because there is a wide range of types. The severity of symptoms can vary widely. Common symptoms include difficulty with social skills, repetitive behavior, obsessive interests, speech, and communication. Each child with autism spectrum disorder has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. Some children are severely challenged and may require support with their daily routines, while others may need less support.
Approximately one in 10 people with autism show signs of savant syndrome — a condition once referred to as idiot savant. Savant syndrome occurs when a person demonstrates extraordinary abilities generally related to memory. This can include playing a musical instrument, rapid calculation, or being able to memorize maps, sports, or historical facts.
What Causes Autism?
There is no one cause of autism. Research suggests that autism develops from a combination of genetic and nongenetic influences. Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child will develop autism. If a parent carries one or more of these genes, they may get passed on to a child. The majority of these gene changes do not cause autism by themselves. Children born to older parents are at a higher risk of having autism.
Research shows that there is not any link between childhood vaccinations and autism.
Treatment for Autism
Every child or adult with autism has their own unique challenges. A treatment plan should be tailored to address a person’s specific needs. Behavioral treatments may include speech and occupational therapy.
Many people with autism also have additional medical conditions such as sleep disorders, gastrointestinal problems, OCD, ADD, anxiety, and seizures. Addressing these conditions can improve attention, learning and related behaviors. Medication is available and it is important to work with your doctor for the right treatment.
First Choice Neurology is pleased to announce that in June 2019 we will have pediatric neurology services.