Autism, a mystery brain illness that affects youngsters, has spawned a slew of scary tales. How does autism develop? For your benefit, we enlisted the help of prominent experts from across the country. Numerous colleges are racing to discover the causes and best treatment options for this affliction.
There are still a lot of unsolved issues. Families should take heart, though, as experts are making headway in understanding this puzzling condition.
Rates have risen recently.
According to a study from Pediatrics based on 2016 statistics, it is predicted that 1 in 40 children in the United States has some degree of autism. Between the ages of 3 and 17, approximately 1.5 million youngsters (2.5 percent) will be affected. Autism is more commonly found in boys than in girls in the United States.; this is true for children of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Autism appears to be spreading like wildfire, but the Pediatrics study says that it is due to more accurate reporting. In the last decade, the definition of autism has been broadened to cover a wider range of speech and social interaction difficulties. While many children with moderate autism were not recognized ten years ago, that has changed.
As a result, clinicians are more likely to diagnose and refer autistic children because of increased state and federal funding. Researchers are looking into anything from environmental contaminants to viruses to food allergies in an attempt to determine if the recent rise in autism incidence is due to any other factors not yet discovered.
Children are being diagnosed earlier than ever before, thanks in part to this research.
In order to diagnose autism, clinicians rely on observable behavioral patterns. The labeling of a child as autism in the past was often held back until the symptoms became clear. Diagnosed at 3.5 years old, many children were diagnosed much later. However, things are changing.
Autism is becoming more widely recognized among pediatricians, which is one of the contributing factors. However, autism professionals can recognize early warning signals, such as the inability to talk or point, better than ever before. It is common for autistic children to show evidence of developmental delay by the time they turn one year old.
For the time being, physicians can’t say for sure if a child has autism until they’re at least 24 months old, while their brains are still developing. Changing a child’s behavior will be a lot easier if we can intervene while her brain is still developing.
There is a hereditary component to autism.
In the past, researchers believed that autism was caused by poor parenting, but today they believe that genetics, rather than parenting style, is responsible. Several genes are thought to interact with each other to create autism. This could explain the wide range of symptoms and severity seen in the disease.
An aberrant brain development in the womb or increased susceptibility to unknown triggers may be caused by these genes. Most likely, a combination of hereditary and environmental factors is at play. Intensive research is being conducted despite the fact that the genes associated with autism have yet to be identified.
A large head is a warning sign.
Autistic children’s brains develop differently from an early age, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Those with autism had small skulls at birth, but by 6 to 14 months, their heads and brains had grown significantly in size, according to the findings of the study mentioned above. In a matter of months, some of them had risen to the 90th percentile or above. Those who developed the most severe form of autism during infancy were shown to have the most rapid brain growth.
It’s a good idea to request that your child’s pediatrician take his or her head circumference at a routine well-baby checkup. Don’t freak out if your baby’s head is larger than the average. Some newborns are born with disproportionately large heads. To diagnose autism, it is necessary to keep an eye on the child’s progress in terms of speech and behavior, even though rapid head development is not a definite indicator of the condition.
Early intervention is critical.
Intensive therapy can help a kid with autism develop a wide range of abilities, from eye contact to embracing to talking. In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences assembled a group of specialists who recommended that children suspected of having autism receive 25 hours of therapy each week.
A child’s particular challenges and healthy growth should be taken into consideration rather than focusing solely on changing specific symptoms of autism, which can be counterproductive. There are various ways to help a kid with autism, from attending a traditional preschool to a mom interacting with her child during the course of a typical day to direct therapy from well-trained teachers and specialists.
The lack of qualified therapists and places in special-education programs and schools for autistic children remains one of the largest issues. There is a ten-year strategy to solve this issue, which was announced by the federal government.
Much about autism remains unknown, although researchers are constantly uncovering new information. Autism may one day be cured by gene therapy even before a child is born, according to experts. Early diagnosis and treatment are currently the best hope. Because they’re getting care sooner, today’s generation of autistic children will undoubtedly do better than earlier ones.