Are You Worried About Autism?
Since the 1980s, when changes were first made to the way that autism was diagnosed, incidence of the Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASDs has been on the rise. Today's statistics show that ASDs affect nearly six people in every thousand and four times as many males than females. The high incidence of ASDs has had the rather profound effect of creating an autism culture and community that is rapidly gaining recognition.
This is partly due to the high profile cases of outspoken celebrity mothers with autistic children, but tools like the internet are also responsible. The higher incidence and increased recognizability of the disorder mean that more people know about it, but also that more parents fear it. If you are worried about your child's risk for autism, take the time to find out a little more about the condition.
The Basics of Autism
Autism is a disorder that affects the development of the brain and its neurons. In individuals with autism information processing in the brain is altered in the connections and organization of synapses. The result is an impaired ability to interact on a social level or communicate as well as a tendency to repetitive and restrictive behavior. These behaviors are very distinctive and they will become apparent in a child's development process before he or she reaches the age of three.
Some children never progress beyond a certain point and some appear to regress. The disorder can be treated and individuals affected by the condition can be taught to cope in general society, but autism is incurable at this time and few autistic children leave home to live alone after they reach their majority.
What to Do When You Worry About Autism
Chances are that when you find yourself concerned that your child might have autism, that you are simply borrowing trouble. In the case of children with this disorder it is difficult not to be aware that your child has a serious difficulty interacting like a normal child in their age group. Most parents notice this issue by twenty-four months. If you find yourself worried, look for these signs of the disorder in your child:
* No babbling by twelve months
* No gesturing by twelve months
* No single words by sixteen months
* No two word spontaneous phrases by twenty-four months
* Any loss of language or social skills at any age
If you notice any of these issues, let your doctor know about your autism concerns immediately so that you may get your child diagnosed and begin seeking treatment for him or her as soon as possible. General practice in the U.S. is to screen all children for this disorder at eighteen and twenty-four months in order to ensure that it is caught as early as possible.
Autistic children will need special care and treatment for much of their lives and the earlier that this treatment is begun, then the more likely it is that the treatment will be effective in improving the life of the affected child.
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