* What is autism?
Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person's communication and social interaction skills. People with autism have issues with non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and activities that include an element of play and/or banter.
* Causes of Autism:
The exact cause of autism is not known, but research has pointed to several possible factors, including genetics (heredity), certain types of infections, and problems occurring at birth. * The body's immune system may inappropriately produce antibodies that attack the brains of children, causing autism. * Abnormalities in brain structures cause autistic behavior. * Children with autism have abnormal timing of the growth of their brains. * * Symptoms of autism:
Symptoms of autism typically appear before a child is 3 years old and last throughout life. Children with autism can display a wide range of symptoms, which can vary in severity from mild to disabling. General symptoms that may be present to some degree in a child with autism include: * Difficulty with verbal communication, including problems using and understanding language * Inability to participate in a conversation, even when the child has the ability to speak * Difficulty with non-verbal communication, such as gestures and facial expressions * Difficulty with social interaction, including relating to people and to his or her surroundings * Difficulty making friends and preferring to play alone * Unusual ways of playing with toys and other objects, such as only lining them up a certain way * Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine or familiar surroundings, or an unreasonable insistence on following routines in detail * Repetitive body movements, or patterns of behavior, such as hand flapping, spinning, and head banging * Preoccupation with unusual objects or parts of objects
People with a form of autism, called savantism, have exceptional skills in specific areas such as music, art, and numbers. People with savantism are able to perform these skills without lessons or practice.
* Treatment of autism:
The primary goal of treatment is to improve the overall ability of the child to function.
4 main ways of treating autism are: * Behavioral training and management uses positive reinforcement, self-help, and social skills training to improve behavior and communication. Many types of treatments have been developed, including Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH), and sensory integration. * Specialized