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Autistic Spectrum Disorders

What is it?

Autism is a disorder causing abnormal behaviours in children starting before the age of 3 years. Children with autism have difficulty communicating with other people and difficulty behaving normally with other children. Autism lasts a lifetime though children with autism can do lots of things and learn skills. There is a form of ‘high functioning’ autism called Asperger syndrome who do not have learning problems but they do have some of the same difficulties that people with autism have.

Who gets autism?

Some kind of autism occur in about one in every hundred children. Boys are affected far more frequently than girls.

What are the signs of autism?

People with autism find it difficult to:

  • Tell people what they need and how they feel
  • To meet other people and make new friends
  • Understand what other people think and feel
  • There is a wide range of ‘autistic behaviours’ from mild to very severe.

What causes autism?

No one is absolutely sure but there are some clues. It is probably inherited in families. There are some things that occur during pregnancy and birth which may lead to complicated changes in the brain. Some people blame certain foods, vaccinations, or heavy metals but none of these has actually been proven to be causes

What is the treatment for children with autism?

There are a large range of suggested treatments most of which are still unresearched as to whether they work or not.

What happens to autistic children when they grow up?

Some adults with bad autistic behaviours show improvement but most do not and cannot hold down jobs though their problems may become less severe with age most people with the problem cannot live independently by themselves.