Autism affects people in a variety of ways. In fact, the term Autism Spectrum Disorder is used to represent the varying degrees of behaviors associated with autism.
Autistic behaviors include difficulties with social interaction and both verbal and nonverbal communication, and the presence of repetitive behaviors.
Autism is often noticeable before age two, and is often diagnosed before age three.
While the causes of autism are still being studied, research currently shows that autism can be genetic, meaning certain people have genes that put them at risk for autism. Birth-related factors also appear related to autism, such as when a child is conceived by one or both parents of an advanced age, a mother who is ill during pregnancy, or difficulties during childbirth, such as if the baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen. None of these factors cause autism by themselves, but combined with genetically-related risks they appear to increase the chances of autism.
Autism affects over 3 million people in the US (approximately 1% of the population), and is 4-5 times more common in boys than in girls.
The sooner a child with autism is diagnosed, the sooner he or she can receive treatment. Research shows that progress is definitely achievable with the treatments and services available today, and that early intervention is a critical component to the long-term success of people with autism.
As mentioned, autism effects people in a variety of ways. As a child with autism grows into adulthood, they may require continue services such as assisted living, or could achieve an independent life and be employed. Some people, thanks to continued treatment, grow up to be considered free of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Only time will tell