What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder affects an individual’s ability to communicate and form relationships with other people from early childhood. Autism also affects an individual’s ability to use language as well as abstract concepts.
Who is affected by autism?
Autism signs/symptoms start showing from age 2, however, a child can be diagnosed with autism when they are 1.5 years. It is worth noting that some developmental delays linked to autism can be seen even earlier. Parents with concerns more info that their children are autistic are advised to seek evaluation immediately since early detection increases chances of recovery. Most developmental delays caused by autism can be addressed if they are detected early.
There are still questions on the exact causes of autism; however, there are strong indications that the disease is initiated by a combination of environmental, biologic and genetic influences. Some reasons point to the fact that genes play a crucial role in causing autism. For instance, families with an autistic child have a higher chance (a 5-20% chance) of having another autistic child.
Stem cell therapy for autism research have also shown that identical twins have a higher chance of being autistic compared to fraternal twins. Also, children who become autistic usually have parents or close relatives with emotional disorders or mild social impairments, i.e., social/communication problems and repetitive behaviors that are similar to autism. Researchers have also linked autism to an abnormal gene (1 in the 3-5 genes) that interact to cause the disease.
Other factors that have been found to increase autism risks include chemical imbalances, chemicals, viruses or lack of enough oxygen at birth. In some cases, autistic behavior has been linked to; German measles (Rubella) in pregnant mothers, rare genetic disorders like tuberous sclerosis, fragile X syndrome, brain inflammation and untreated phenylketonuria. Autism has also been linked to environmental toxins like pesticides as well as heavy metals (like mercury).