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Autism 101

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Autism 101

Facts About Autism: What We Know

  • Autism and related disorders are now referred to as autism spectrum disorders.
  • Characteristics of autism include impaired development in social interaction, communication, and behavior.
  • The degree of autism varies from mild to severe.
  • Severely afflicted persons with autism can appear to have a profound intellectual disability. Research tends to continue to refute the idea that immunizations cause autism.
  • The cause of autism is unknown.
  • The optimal treatment of autism involves an educational or vocational program that is suited to the developmental level of the child or adult, respectively.
  • It is important for the unique medical and mental health needs of people with autism to be addressed in order to optimize both their life expectancy and quality of life.
  • Persons with autism and those who care for them often engage in advocacy activities like the walk for autism during April, Autism Awareness Month.

Medical Definition of Autism – www.medicinenet.com

Autism is a spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, and unusual and repetitive behavior. Some, but not all, people with autism are non-verbal.

Autism is normally diagnosed before age six and may be diagnosed in infancy in some cases. The degree of autism varies from mild to severe in different children. Severely afflicted patients can appear profoundly retarded.

The cause (or causes) of autism are not yet fully understood. However, it is believed that at least some cases involve an inherited or acquired genetic defect. Researchers have proposed that the immune system, metabolic, and environmental factors may play an important part as well. It is not caused by emotional trauma, as was once theorized.

Autism or autistic-like behavior may co-occur with many other neurological conditions.

The optimal treatment of autism involves an educational program that is suited to the child’s developmental level.

Autism is also called Kanner syndrome or infantile autism. See also Asperger syndrome, elective mutism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Rett syndrome.

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