LivingEverything you should know about autism

Everything you should know about autism

 

Due to the increase in the number of children and adults diagnosed with autism in recent years, there appears to be an increase in misdiagnoses of autism as well. While in the 1960s it was reported that 1 in 250 children had autism worldwide, today it is estimated that 1 in 59 children is affected. This sudden increase in cases could be due to the misdiagnosis of patients with characteristics similar to autism, although it is also true that the opposite is a possibility to consider, since we have improved our knowledge and this, in turn, helps us to diagnose those that had no diagnosis until now. Whatever the case, it is therefore important to know the data well and know how to distinguish between different mental or developmental conditions.

What are Autism and ASD?

Autism is a neurological and brain development condition . The person suffering from this disorder reacts differently to social interactions, is socially awkward or is always super focused on something. The brain of a person with autism is slightly different from that of a neurotypical person, that is, it does not function in the same way as a person with normal brain development . However, they are just as intelligent and normal as any other physically healthy human being.

Some psychiatrists believe that autism cannot be classified as a “disorder” or “disease” , since it does not fit the definition of a pathological disease, so to speak. It is simply a small alteration of the brain that causes the individual to lack social and some emotional skills . Since man is a very social animal, children and adults with autism can stand out from the crowd like an anomaly.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the term coined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 2013, as a broad term to incorporate 4 other similar developmental disorders. These include autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

What are the traits of an autistic person?

The main feature of autism that gives rise to other features is excessive concentration . An autistic person is usually very fixated on something all the time, always concentrating on a specific topic, without moving smoothly between different topics. This characteristic leads to many other emotional and social traits that are unique to them .

Mental traits other than overfocusing include: being caught up in thoughts, having the mind constantly occupied with an inclination to overthink, obsessively pursuing hobbies and passions, gaining in-depth knowledge in a variety of fields of interest, often causing her to be perceived as a kind of “know-it-all”, aware of herself but unaware of the people around her; is socially awkward. When they are interrupted between any activity or during their work, they seem to become tense, perplexed and anxious.

They may also have marked emotional traits , notably the inability to experience a different emotion or feel like a stranger in their own space. They have difficulty dealing with different emotions, often because anxiety takes over when there are unprocessed emotions. Often they are not even capable of feeling fear or fear of anything, and sometimes they can get very angry without realizing it. Along the same lines, it is infrequent for them to cry or laugh and they do not usually understand empathy. They are often unaffected by other people’s expressions of emotion and cannot empathize with their misery or happiness, etc.

They tend to lack most social traits and don’t seem to have a problem with themselves for it. They also tend not to have an instinctive desire to socialize , are always unaware of others’ feelings, needs, and social cues, are unaware of how their environment perceives them, ignore socially acceptable responses and mistakes, are unaware of making subtle gestures nor to respond to them, and they are unable to pick up the signals: “reading between the lines” does not go with them.

Despite everything, we must understand that not all people with ASD have the same traits and characteristics , some develop some and others, others. After all, we are talking about a spectrum, an interval, a fan. Each individual is unique and there are those who exhibit more characteristics than those mentioned, and who less. Thus, there are those who can lead a normal life, and others whose diagnosis will be delayed and who will even sometimes not be diagnosed because they have very mild features of ASD.

Visible signs or manifestations

Signs of ASD usually appear by age three , although they may not fully present until elementary school or later, with another study stating that symptoms can appear between six and eighteen months of age. Milder cases are more likely to go undetected and undiagnosed at a younger age than more severely affected youth. If the gravity is high, it is easily recognizable . ASD affects approximately four males for every female , while the sex ratio appears to decrease as severity increases. Other signs to watch for in babies include: no smiling or happy expressions at 6 months of age, no imitation of parents or repeating sounds at 9 months, or no cooing or cooing at 12 months months. Again, these are estimated times, some will need more time and some less to develop these features, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of these breakpoints to check around them if something isn’t going right.

What are the causes?

There is no single cause for autism spectrum disorder. Given the complexity of the disorder and the fact that the type and signs vary, it is likely that there are multiple causes. Both genetics and environment can play a role .

ASDs appear to be caused by several genes . In turn, some of the possible affected genes may be linked to other genetic conditions , such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome, in some children. Genetic variations (mutations) can increase the chance of autism in other children. Other genes may influence brain growth or communication between brain cells, or may influence the severity of the disease. Some genetic mutations appear to be inherited, while others appear to occur by chance.

Environmental factors or agents are also important . Researchers are studying whether viral infections, medications, pregnancy difficulties, and air pollution influence the development of autism spectrum disease. However, there is no data to suggest any relationship between vaccines and autism , as repeated studies show no connection between the two. The biggest myth about autism is that it is caused by vaccines, and that argument has always been unscientific.

Treatment

Autism cannot be cured , but it can be treated if caught early. As mentioned, severe cases of autism show early signs and manifestations, allowing doctors and psychiatrists to effectively diagnose and treat autism. The treatment can be applied at any age and this will help them function better in society .

 

References

Autism spectrum disorder—symptoms and causes. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/autism-spectrum-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20352928
Lyall, K., Croen, L., Daniels, J., Fallin, M. D., Ladd-Acosta, C., Lee, B. K., … & Newschaffer, C. (2017). The changing epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders. Annual review of public health, 38, 81-102.
Rowland, D. (2020). A need to redefine autism. Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology, 11(1), 001-004.
Speaks, A. (2011). What is autism? Retrieved on November 17, 2011.
Storyset (s.f). Autism concept illustration Free Vector. [Imagen]. Freepik. https://www.freepik.com/stories
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder? (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2022, from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/autism/what-is-autism-spectrum-disorder

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