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Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)

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Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are a range of developmental disorders that become apparent in childhood and persist in adulthood. Broadly referred to as just autism, ASDs represent the variety of symptoms and severity within the well-known condition. Still, they all have some common characteristics, including:

Autistic people often find comfort in set patterns and routines

The NHS points out that there are three types of ASDs:

Autistic disorder, sometimes known as “classic autism“ – children with this disorder have significant problems with language, behaviour and social interaction, as well as learning difficulty

Asperger’s syndrome – children with Asperger’s have less severe symptoms and are often able to lead independent lives. They struggle most with social interaction and certain areas of language but often develop intense interests, which they excel in

Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), which is also known as “atypical autism“ – this diagnosis is used for those children who display some, but not all, the characteristics of Autistic disorder or Asperger’s syndrome. Their symptoms are usually milder.

It is estimated that ASDs affect just over 1% of American children. Symptoms can begin to appear when babies are as young as 12 months, but often become obvious at around age 2. Diagnosing children as early as possible can lead to early intensive therapy which can sometimes lead to significant improvements in their life.

The exact cause of autism is unknown, but there are many theories that certain inherited genes could be the cause. Health authorities mostly claim that there is very little evidence to suggest a link between ASDs and the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

There is no known cure for ASDs but a variety of treatments are available to help the sufferer lead an independent life and function within social settings. Some popular therapies include:

Click here to read about World Autism Awareness Day and Dan Aykroyd’s battle with Asperger’s.

Images: Wikipedia

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