Autism Facts

Communicating with an autistic child can be frustrating for anyone, especially their parents and teachers. It is often difficult to know their needs and frustrating to get ignored by them, as autistic individuals tend to be consistently engaged in repetitive activities or behaviors. Not to worry, though, children with autism no longer have to hide away. They are beginning to go through programs that allow them to attend school and improve their overall quality of life, even learning how to become a contributing member of their community. Read on, and find out all the important autism facts.

Autism Facts: What Is It?

Autism, in fact, is one of the many conditions present in the autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. Other conditions along this spectrum are not as severe, such as Asperger syndrome, but are believed to have some of the same causes. Autistic Disorder, typically referred to as autism, is the most severe disorder and can occur in any ethnic and socioeconomic group. Autism is a complex neurodevelopment disorder that causes certain social and communication difficulties along with stereotypical repetitive movements. Unfortunately, males are significantly more at risk than females, and the disorder affects at least one out of 88 eight-year-old children. If you are concerned that your child may have autism, there are signs of autism in children you can look out for.

Autism Facts: Why It Happens?

Although we are not completely sure of the exact cause of any disorder on the autism spectrum, we do believe it is caused by both genetics and our surrounding environment, especially since there are a number of genes that have become directly associated with the disorder. Typically, autism is seen when there are abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters causing abnormalities in the brain. These abnormalities could be the result of brain development being disrupted early in the fetal development stages. In fact, the disruption is believed to be caused by defects in certain genes which help regulate brain cell communication and brain growth. Lastly, prenatal practices have been shown not to be a cause.

Autism Facts: Risk Factors and How to Reduce Them

1. Risk Factors of Autism

Most of the risk factors for autism occur during or immediately after pregnancy. The following may increase the risk of a child being born with autism:

  • Taking antidepressants, especially during the first trimester
  • Lacking certain nutrients, such as folic acid
  • The age of the parents at the time of conception, especially if the father is older
  • Low birth rate and neonatal anemia, among other birth complications
  • Maternal infection
  • Contact with or exposure to harsh chemicals during pregnancy

2. Ways to Reduce the Risk of Autism

Although there are many risk factors, it is possible to significantly reduce the likelihood of your child being born with an autism spectrum disorder. In order to combat the risks, you will need to find a multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Although multivitamins are not proven to prevent birth defects, they are known to help the fetal development, especially during earlier stages. Secondly, be sure to talk with your doctor about SSRIs. Some women do suffer from depression during pregnancy and leaving it untreated is not an option as untreated depression can cause complications. Lastly, be sure to practice overall prenatal care by maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, avoid any type of infection, and attend all of your regular check-ups.

Autism Facts: How to Treat It

Sadly, there is no direct cure for autism, but the earlier you intervene, the better chance your child will have of leading a normal life. The most common method of treating autism is with traditional therapy. Since each autistic child is unique, therapy will be tailored to their individual needs, which will range from behavioral therapy to speech therapy.

A therapist’s main goal is to teach the child to:

  • Understand safety
  • Keep proper hygiene
  • Practice communication skills
  • Improve social cooperation skills
  • Find alternatives to unhealthy behaviors, such as aggression and repetition.
In order to gain the maximum benefit from a therapy, an autistic child should spend at least twenty-five hours a week working on various aspects of the therapy. However, some children may also need medications. Other families have tried non-traditional methods, such as diet modification (GFCF diet is one of the most popular) or music therapy, and many have reported improvements.

Other FAQs about Autism

1. Can Autism Be Outgrown?

Since there is currently no cure for autismand no record of it being completely outgrown, theanswer is no-autism cannot be outgrown. Fortunately, as some children grow with autism, they begin to improve in certain aspects, typically between the ages of five and thirteen. For example, a child who has never spoken may suddenly start saying repetitive phrases around age five, while another child may finally begin to tolerate small changes in their daily routine. Remember that each child with autism is different and may develop differently than others.

2. Can Individuals with Autism Live Independently?

Most individuals with autism will need constant supervision and constant reinforcement, limiting the amount of freedom they can experience as they grow older. Luckily, programs have now been created to help autistic individuals become contributing members of society. These programs have their own environments and communities where autistic individuals are consistently supervised and given a certain amount of individuality. These programs will find developmentally appropriate positions to help individuals with autism become more successful.

3. How Do Families Cope with Autism?

Having an autistic child will be extremely challenging. They will need their family’s constant support and supervision, and their siblings often feel ignored or jealous. Older children may worry about having a child with autism later in their life, while younger children may fear they could become like their sibling. It is up to the parents to reassure all of their children that they are loved and cared for, but that the autistic child will need more help from all of them.

Lastly, in order to cope with autism, parents should focus on the things their autistic child can do instead of the accomplishments they may never make, such as driving or getting a degree.

All the autism facts mentioned above can provide you with a full picture of autism, gives you a better understanding of it and help you dealing with autism kids.