Autism

by: Jailyn Weathers

What is Autism?

Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.

What are the symptoms?

Social interactions and relationships

  • Significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture.
  • Failure to establish friendships with children the same age.
  • Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people.
  • Lack of empathy. People with autism may have difficulty understanding another person's feelings, such as pain and sorrow.

Verbal and nonverbal communication

  • Delay in/ lack of learning to talk. About 40% of people with autism never speak.
  • Problems taking steps to start a conversation. Also some people with autism have difficulties continuing a conversation after it has begun.
  • Stereotyped and repetitive use of language. People with autism often repeat over and over a phrase they have heard previously.
  • Difficulty understanding their listener's perspective.

How is it diagnosed?

ASD varies widely in severity and symptoms and may go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected children or when it is masked by more debilitating handicaps.

What is the treatment?

Early diagnosis and treatment helps young children with autism develop to their full potential. The primary goal of treatment is to improve the overall ability of the child to function.

Symptoms and behaviors of autism can combine in many ways and vary in severity. Also, individual symptoms and behaviors often change over time. For these reasons, treatment strategies are tailored to individual needs and available family resources. But in general children with autism respond best to highly structured and specialized treatment. A program that addresses helping parents and improving communication, social, behavioral, adaptive, and learning aspects of a child's life will be most successful.

What is the lifespan of autism?

There really isn't a lifespan of people that have autism. Some people can live up to the age of 85 with autism.

Is there a genetic screening for autism?

There is NOT a genetic screening for autism