Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complicated brain disorders that often makes it hard to communicate with and socially interact with others. The symptoms and severity of autism spectrum disorders vary widely, but most types affect a child’s ability to connect with people. Autistic children may have trouble developing language skills (or not develop them at all), exhibit repetitive behaviors, and appear uninterested in the world around them. As they grow, children with autism have trouble recognizing social cues, like facial expressions, which makes it difficult for them to interpret what others are feeling or thinking.
ASD appears in early childhood and, for many, the struggle to relate to others is a life-long battle. While there is no cure for autism, behavioral therapy is often a critical part of the treatment plan and can help the child develop social and language skills. Parents and siblings of children suffering from autism can also benefit from therapy to help them develop healthy and supportive ways of coping.
Causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
ASD is complicated condition and the exact causes remain unknown however some factors considered by researchers to be involved are a genetic predisposition and environmental factors.
Many researchers believe that specific genes inherited from parents could make a child more vulnerable to developing ASD.ASD have been known to run in families with younger siblings of children with ASD also developing the condition and identical twins quite commonly both develop ASD.
Environmental triggers are believed to be involved. It is believe by some researchers that individuals born with a genetic vulnerability to ASD may only develops the condition if they are exposed to specific environmental triggers. An environmental trigger refers to anything in the individual’s external environment. Possible triggers may include prematurely, being exposed to alcohol or to certain medication in the womb.
Conditions known to be associated with ASD:
muscular dystrophy – a group of inherited genetic conditions that gradually cause the muscles to weaken, Down’s syndrome – a genetic condition that typically causes a learning disability and a range of physical features, cerebral palsy – conditions that affect the brain and nervous system, causing problems with movement and co-ordination, infantile spasms – a type of epilepsy that develops while a child is still very young (usually before they’re one year old), neurofibromatosis – a number of genetic conditions that cause tumours to grow along the nerves (the main types are neurofibromatosis type 1 and neurofibromatosis type 2)and the rare genetic conditions fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis and Rett syndrome.