Autism also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences. The Autism Spectrum reflects the different variations and challenges and strengths each person with autism has. Most cases of autism appear between ages 2 and 3, but some cases it can be diagnosed at 18 months. In some cases, even sooner with developmental delays.
Autism spectrum disorder can cause social, communication, and behavioral challenges. For the most part people with autism look like most people, nothing really sets them apart. What does set them apart is they way they may communicate, interact, behave, and learn. People with ASD can be gifted or severely challenged. Some will need a lot of help day to day, other’s not as much. Having Autism spectrum disorder includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome.
There is currently no cure for ASD, but some research shows that early treatment and intervention services can improve a child’s development. From birth to 36 months early intervention can help children learn important skills. Services can include therapy to help walk, talk, and interact with others. So it is very important that you talk to your child’s doctor if you think your child might have ASD.
People do not know all the causes of ASD, but we have learned over time there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASD. Many different factors that make a child more likely to have ASD are, environmental, biological, and genetic factors.
According to CDC.Gov:
• Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop ASD.4
• Children who have a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk of also having ASD. 5-10
• ASD tends to occur more often in people who have certain genetic or chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis.11-14
• When taken during pregnancy, the prescription drugs valproic acid and thalidomide have been linked with a higher risk of ASD.15-16
• There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASD occurs before, during, and immediately after birth. 17
• Children born to older parents are at greater risk for having ASD.
This month we share this information to help everyone get a better understanding of autism spectrum disorder. Share more information with your friends and family today.