AutismAustism. or pointing by the age of 1,

AutismAustism. The textbook definition is “A mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and using language and abstract concepts.” Autism is very common throughout the United States. There are more than 200,000 cases per year. There is no cure for Autism, however there is treatment available to help. Because of the lack of treatment, Autism can last for years or be lifelong.Autism may sometimes be hard to diagnose due to symptoms sometimes being subtle. However, early indicators of Autism include no babbling or pointing by the age of 1, no single words or phrases by the age of 2, no response to their name, no eye contact, and no smiling or social contact. Later indicators include impaired ability to make friends, absence of play, repetitive or unusual use of language, preoccupation with certain objects or subjects, and lack of recognizing specific routines or rituals. Doctors use questionnaires and screening instruments to monitor development and determine whether or not they have Autism. If signs of Autism are detected, a more comprehensive evaluation will follow. This includes a team of psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, and speech therapists assessing the subject. Although environmental causes for Autism have yet been identified, scientists think that the environment in which a child is raised, as well as genetics may cause Autism. Over decades, the number of people reported with Autism has increased greatly with no explanation as to why. It is more common in children who are born prematurely, as gene function is sometimes out of whack with premature children. It has not been proved that parents can cause Autism in their children and vaccinations to prevent infectious diseases don’t increase the risk of Autism.Autism affects people by attacking the nervous system, causing difficulty with communication, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. While symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on the severity of the disorder, patients who have Autism have commonly reported symptoms such as failing to respond to their names, avoiding eye contact with others, and only interacting with others to achieve specific goals. They often don’t understand how to play, find it hard to understand and express feelings, etc. People with Autism typically find it difficult to determine appropriate things to say or have nothing to say at all. They may repeat phrases and give unrelated answers to questions. This is only one of many repetitive and characteristic behaviors that Autistic patients display. Autistic people engage in many unusual behaviors. Some of these include flapping their arms, rocking from side to side, twirling, repeating familiar sounds (i.e. trucks, airplanes, and trains), becoming very angry and having multiple emotional outbursts in new environments, etc. People with Autism thrive by maintaining a daily routine, however, this may be very challenging due to weakened minds.With age, symptoms of Autism typically improve. As Autistic patients age, they become more and more functional. However, seeing as there is no cure for Autism, Autistic patients will never see full recovery. Usually, patients will continue to need support but may be able to work successfully and live independently. As patients begin to transition into adulthood, they begin to experience behavioral problems and become depressed. A few examples of functional Autism are: Wolfgang Amamdeus Mozart who was an influential composer of the classical era. Mozart showed early signs of Autism in things such as, constant motion of the hands and feet, various facial expressions, and sensitive hearing. Mozart overcame this struggle by continuing on and writing songs such as, Dies Irae, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, etc.; Tim Burton, who is known for his major role in the movie “Beetlejuice” and is a famous American film producer, director, writer and animator, overcame his diagnosis of Autism as well. Something most people don’t know about Autism is that it is different for women. Neuroimaging suggests that Autism manifests differently in girls. Girls with Autism may be harder to diagnose and are diagnosed later for several reasons due to similar behavior as those with OCD and Anorexia. Females also tend to have different symptoms than males. Lately, scientists are discovering that there are several explanations to the Autism gender ratio. They have found that females tend to mask symptoms of Autism better than males do, again, making it harder to diagnose.

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