Understanding the Risk Factors for Autism

Understanding the Risk Factors for Autism

Schools for children with special needs

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the United States has increased in recent years to one per every 68 births, according to a report but the Centers for Disease Control. These numbers have nearly doubled in the last 10 years, bringing more national attention to the range of disorders that impairs a person’s social and communication abilities.

What is Autism?

Autism is a general name for a wide range of disorders that affects the way the brain processes information. Autism develops in the early stages of childhood, and official criteria require that symptoms are present by the time a child turns three for a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder to be made. There is no single cause of autism, but researchers over the years have discovered a number of genetic traits and environmental stimuli that contribute to autism. A combination of certain genetic mutations is most commonly seen in children with autism, though a single genetic mutation has been know to cause autism spectrum disorders in children. Environmental factors that increase the risk of autism during pregnancy are older age of the mother and maternal illness. These factors, in combination with a genetic predisposition, have been know to increase that chance of autism in children.

Characteristics of Children with Autism

Characteristics of children with autism include difficulty communicating, poor social skills, repetitive behaviors and difficulty learning. Since autism spectrum disorders are a range of disorders, not a single disorder, people on the autism spectrum can have a wide range of these characteristics. Some people with autism are high functioning individuals with remarkable learning capabilities, while others have a very difficult time functioning on their own.

Treatment for Autism

While there is no “cure” for autism, early diagnosis can make treatment more effective. The two methods of early intervention that are successful in providing help for children with autism are Applied Behavior Analysis and the Early Start Denver Model. Applied Behavior Analysis uses the principles of behavioral therapy that use rewards to encourage a desired behavior. This method has been shown to help young children improve listening, imitating and other complex learning skills. The Early Start Denver Model lays out a specific timeline of when skills should be learned between the ages of 12 and 48 months, along with suggesting resources for children with autism that will help them learn these individual skills. Good refereneces.

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