Clearing Up Misunderstandings and Pointing Out The Facts About Autism
Autism is a profound developmental disorder that affects nearly 1 in every 59 (15 percent) of children in the US. Boys are affected four to five times more often than girls, and the cause of Autism is still relatively unknown.
In this article, I want to deliver you the facts about Autism. There is simply too much misunderstanding circling regarding this disorder, and I would like to ease some parent’s minds by answering some of their burning questions.
Autism spectrum disorders include autism, profound developmental disorder, and Asperger’s Syndrome.
Asperger syndrome is relatively rare, affecting only 3 out of 10.000 people.
Parents tend to live in fear of having an autism disorder diagnosis for their children, especially because they are unaware of the facts.
Learn what autism is and what it is not in order to help these people to alleviate concerns that they may have regarding these developmental disorders.
The Different Forms Of Autism
This distinguishes early childhood autism (Kanner syndrome), which a person has from birth and the Asperger’s autism or also called Asperger’s syndrome, which can also occur later.
Early Childhood Autism (Kanner Syndrome)
Kanner-Autist sufferers avoid eye and body contact, they have difficulty learning to speak, many do not succeed in doing so for the rest of their lives. When they talk, their language often has no communicative use, i.e. they repeat memorized words or phrases over and over again, regardless of the situation they are in.
Since they often cannot point to anything, they lead their reference persons, for example, to the desired object in order to make themselves understood.
Most people with early childhood autism always need help.
Asperger’s autistic people, on the other hand, are far more inconspicuous at first glance.
They can speak correctly, are showing normal to above-average intelligence and often attend a regular school.
Abstract facts such as mathematical formulas or rules of the game are easy to learn. In their fields of expertise, they can develop into true experts, for example, there are outstanding computer experts with Asperger’s syndrome.
It’s Tough To Express and To Perceive Feelings
But as soon as feelings come into play, it becomes difficult for them – which doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings. But they often fail to interpret their counterpart’s facial expression correctly, simple courtesy phrases such as greetings or small talk are very complicated for them.
Since they cannot sense the emotions of others, they sometimes address unpleasant facts bluntly and then wonder when their surroundings find them rude. When they talk to other people, they usually don’t look their counterparts in the eye.
They take phrases with transferred meanings (e.g. leading someone by the nose) literally, which can lead to serious misunderstandings.
Interpersonal contacts can be very complicated and exhausting for them due to those difficulties.
Autistic people are, therefore, more likely to live in a secluded way and have hardly any friends. The boundary between Asperger’s and Kanner syndrome is fluid.
How Does Autism Develop?
What causes autism is still not clear. Rather, there are a number of factors that may also need to come together to develop autism. Certain changes in the genetic material could be triggers, as well as an excess of the male sex hormone testosterone in the womb.
This would also explain why many more boys develop autism than girls. Complications during childbirth could also play be a factor.
Do Autistic People think Differently?
Computed tomographic images of autistic people tell us that their brains lack connections from different regions, especially the emotional center in the brain is poorly wired.
Therefore, the brain of an autistic person grows faster than that of other people, and it apparently does not distinguish between important and unimportant information; all are indifferently stored.
It is not surprising that this amount of data in the head can lead to an over-stimulation. And in fact, many autistic people are very sensitive, for example, can hardly bear loud noises or strong smells and feel much more comfortable in a low-irritant environment.
Non-autistic people have their own brain region, which is only responsible for recognizing faces. In autistic people, this region does not seem to be active, so they can perceive facial expressions much less.
Also, certain connections in the brain, which are responsible for imitation, do not work as well and, quite frankly: Autistic children do not imitate their caregivers while playing.
Quick Facts about Autism
Fragile X syndrome is a genetic mutation responsible for some cases of autism. Some research suggests that autism may occur during the development of the fetal brain, resulting in disruption of normal growth.
However, these are just speculations, as there is no concrete evidence supporting this theory, yet. Parents often feel guilty after learning that their child is plagued with autism, but there’s no reason to believe that parenting behavior does affect whether a child is autistic.
Possible Causes and Treatment Facts
While researchers and doctors do not yet know all the causes of autism, the facts about autism that cannot be denied are as following:
1- Autism is one of the most common developmental disorders that occur in children, along with ADHD, cerebral palsy and mental retardation.
2- More than one percent of people are currently diagnosed with autism in the United States.
3- Autism is diagnosed in seven boys and only one girl per 1000 children (based on CDC data for the state of Florida).
4- The diagnosis of ASD is 1 in 59 kids, and boys are 4.5 times more likely to be
5- Autism occurs in one out of every 110 births.
6- Autism typically begins before the age of three years.
7- Doctors may prescribe psychotropic drugs to help with the symptoms of autism, such as depression and hyperactivity, but these medications are not a cure.
8- Autism affects all races and socioeconomic classes.
9- In children with autism, applied behavior analysis is the only proven and effective therapy.
10- The cost of autism in the United States is more than $ 268 billion a year (at the time of publication), and that number will grow in the next 10 years.
11- The government only grants 5% of research funding for Autism.
A Variety Of Treatment Options
Children who are diagnosed early and come in rigorous treatment programs have the greatest chance of succeeding even for the symptoms of autism to disappear substantially.
They are not cured, however, thus, it gets described as asymptomatic. Parents can use a variety of therapy methods, as a treatment of autism is not one-size-fits-all-fix (similar to diagnosis).
ABA therapy, Floortime Greenspan approach, and a diet free of gluten and casein are all the choices families can explore for treating a diagnosed child suffering from autism.
What Is (not) Autism?
The World Health Organization considers the word Autism (from the Greek word “αὐτός” for “self”) to be a profound developmental disorder.
Doctors, researchers, relatives and autistic individuals describe it as a congenital, incurable brain, cognitive and information processing disorder that manifests itself in early childhood.
Below you will find misconceptions and scientific truths regarding Autism
1. WRONG: Autism is a disease.
TRUE: Autism is a way of being, part of natural existence. Experts speak of people in the “autism spectrum.”
2. WRONG: Autism is psychologically conditioned.
TRUE: Autistic people have an alternative brain design, unusual neurological wiring, another way of processing perception. There are many very intelligent autistic people. Even non-speaking autistic people are often intelligent.
3. WRONG: All autistic persons are the same.
TRUE: Autistic people are just as different and individual as non-autistic folks.
4. WRONG: Autism is the result of emotional neglect, emotional stress, abuse or trauma.
TRUE: The wrong thesis that emerged in the 1950s still holds, when mothers were blamed by default because their children were not as society wished. Today one knows: One can raise and educate a non-autistic child as badly as one likes, it will never become autistic.
5. WRONG: Autism can disappear after childhood.
TRUE: Autistic children become autistic adults. Although it is occasionally sold as a miracle cure, many autistic individuals begin to talk at some point – without therapy. That does not necessarily mean that they will eventually become average people.
6. WRONG: One can recognize Autistic individuals by their appearance.
TRUE: Autistic people look like other people, too.
7. WRONG: All autistic people are geniuses.
TRUE: This false impression arises because autistic geniuses are particularly impressive. As with non-autistic persons, there are such and such: Some autistic people learn very fast, others take longer. Everyone has their individual talents and weaknesses.
8. WRONG: Autistic people do not want social contacts and have no feelings.
TRUE: Often social contact fails because autistic and non-autistic folks cannot find a common language.
Many autistic people like to be in contact with others. They do not know, however, what a socially appropriate way of contacting them might be. Other autistic people do not want to be in touch with other people.
Autistic People Have Feelings, too!
Like all people, autistic persons also want to choose who they hang out with, when and how they spend their time, and when they prefer to be alone.
Autistic people have feelings for other people, even if you do not necessarily tell them what is going on in your life. Many of them have happy relationships, partnerships and start families.
9. WRONG: Autistic people cannot attend normal school.
TRUE: Most autistic children and adolescents attend mainstream schools. They often cannot develop their potential, even though they’re not tagged as autism sufferers. They learn differently and need a customized learning environment.
10. WRONG: Autism means not being able to lead an independent life.
TRUE: Some people need a lot of support from others, others live entirely without special aid.
I truly hope that this post will be of help to you or anyone you know. It’s close to my heart to spread the facts about autism and to cease the myths and assumptions. Please, feel free to share your own experiences and stories regarding autism with us below.
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