What is Autism?

April 2, 2022 was recognized as the world autism awareness international day.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disease highly prevalent in recent years.  It is named as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  An individual may present different spectrum of symptoms and levels of severity. The disorder is characterized by symptoms such as, communication, and social interaction impairment, repetitive behavior, and impaired motor skills.

Two main symptoms that helps on the diagnosis of person with the condition are based on social communication impairments and repetitive patterns of behavior.

Social deficits may include problems communicating and/or interacting with others.

Examples of social communication and interaction characteristics can include:

  • Avoids or does not keep eye contact
  • Does not respond to name
  • Does not show facial expressions, like happy, sad, angry, and surprised
  • Uses few or no gestures (for example, does not wave goodbye)
  • Does not share interests with others
  • Does not notice when others are hurt or upset
  • Does not notice other children and join them in play

Restricted or repetitive behaviors may include:

  • Lines up toys or objects; gets upset when order is changed
  • Repeats words or phrases over and over
  • Plays with toys the same way every time
  • Focused on parts of objects
  • Gets upset by minor changes
  • Has obsessive interests
  • Must follow certain routines
  • Has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel

Brain structure anomalies are hypothesized to play a major role in the disorder. Researchers are still searching for the causes of the disorder. 

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/signs.html

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