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Welcome, medical contents search April 25, 2013
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more about Autism

  • Autism is a developmental disorder that causes difficulties in relating to other people. Because we cannot ask children with autism what they are "thinking" when they act certain ways, it is difficult to explain the condition, but many feel that affected children lack the ability to think about the thoughts of others. Children with autism have difficulty with imagining the "state of mind" of another person, and often treat people as objects.

  • Autism has three main types of symptoms: impairments in social interactions, impairments in language development, and restrictions in interests and activities.
  • Impaired social interaction:
    1. Lack of play with others: Children will often play "next" to other children without actually interacting with them.
    2. Failure to make eye contact.
  • Impaired language and communication skills:
    1. Repetitive hand and facial gestures that sometimes appear like a "tic," but are much more intricate than a tic
    2. Echolalia, i.e., repeating another person's words and phrases, without regard to their meaning
  • Restricted activities and interests:
    1. Children with autism are very ritual-oriented; disruptions in their daily routines can often provoke behavior problems and outbursts.
    2. Deep interest in one or two subjects, with more communicative patients constantly trying to turn a conversation towards those subjects
    3. Playing with toys by repeatedly stacking them or placing them in lines

  • The exact cause of autism is not known at this time.
  • Recent studies have identified a possible gene for the disease, but more research is needed.
  • Several large studies have shown no connection between autism and vaccinations, or common childhood illnesses.

  • The main therapy for autism is behavioral. There are no medications available to treat the disease, and many of the medications that are commonly promoted by some groups (such as the hormone, "secretin") can be dangerous.
  • Special schooling at an early age can help to reinforce good behaviors and discourage outbursts and behavioral problems.
  • The ultimate goal is to move children into regular classrooms and teach them skills that will let them interact with others more effectively.
  • Although many children will slowly improve, some will never be able to live and work on their own as adults.

  • Discuss your concerns with your pediatrician. Several methods of screening can help to identify children early, and the earlier treatments are started, the better the chances for improvement.

more about Autism

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