Autism spectrum disorder

A neurological abnormality called autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects how a person perceives and interacts with others, which can lead to issues with social interaction and communication. Limited and recurring behavioural patterns are another feature of the illness. In autism spectrum disorder, the word “spectrum” refers to the broad spectrum of symptoms and severity.

Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and an unidentified type of pervasive developmental disorder are all disorders that were formerly thought to be distinct conditions that makeup autism spectrum disorder. The name “Asperger’s syndrome,” which is widely considered to be at the mild end of autism spectrum disorder, is nonetheless occasionally used.

Early onset of autism spectrum condition results in difficulties with social, academic, and occupational functioning as adults. Within the first year, autism signs in youngsters are frequently visible. A tiny percentage of kids seem to develop normally in the first year, but when they start showing signs of autism between the ages of 18 and 24 months, they go through a period of regression.

Even though there is no known cure for autism spectrum condition, intense, early intervention can significantly improve the lives of many kids.


Early-infancy symptoms of autism spectrum disorder include limited eye contact, a lack of responsiveness to their name, or a lack of interest in carers. Other kids could grow normally during the first few months or years of life, but then all of a sudden turn introverted, hostile, or lose their gained language abilities. Typically, signs appear by the age of two.

The degree of each autistic spectrum disorder in a kid can range from low functioning to high functioning, and each child is likely to have a distinct pattern of behaviour.

Some children with autism spectrum condition struggle to learn, while others show evidence of being less intelligent than average. Other children with the disease have normal to high intelligence; they pick things up fast but struggle to communicate, use what they’ve learned in daily life, and make friends.

It might be challenging to assess severity sometimes because each child’s particular combination of symptoms is different. Generally, it depends on the severity of the impairments and how they affect a person’s capacity to operate.


The cause of autism spectrum disorder is unknown. There are certainly numerous reasons given the disorder’s intricacy and the fact that symptoms and severity vary. Environment and genetics could both be important.


Autism spectrum disease appears to be caused by several distinct genes. For certain kids, a genetic condition like Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome may be linked to autism spectrum disorder. Other youngsters may be more susceptible to autism spectrum disorder due to genetic abnormalities (mutations). Other genes may influence how the brain develops, how brain cells communicate, or even how severe a symptom is. While some genetic changes appear to be inherited, others happen on their own.

Environmental factors

Currently, scientists are examining whether environmental toxins, drugs, pregnancy difficulties, and virus infections can cause autism spectrum disease.

Types of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Asperger’s syndrome

This is on the autism spectrum’s milder end. An Asperger’s sufferer could be extremely brilliant and capable of managing their daily lives. They could be obsessively interested in some subjects and talk about them incessantly. But socially, they struggle far more.

Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Most kids who had autism that was more severe than Asperger’s syndrome but not as severe as autistic disorder were given this cumbersome diagnosis.

Autistic disorder

Compared to Asperger’s and PDD-NOS, this older word is on the autism spectrum at a later stage. The same symptoms are present, but they are more severe.

Childhood disintegrative disorder

The rarest and harshest end of the range was represented by this. It spoke of kids who, typically between the ages of 2 and 4, develop normally before abruptly losing many of their social, linguistic, and cognitive abilities. These kids frequently additionally had a seizure problem.

Is Rett Syndrome an ASD?

Rett syndrome was once considered one of the spectrum illnesses since it frequently manifests in the behaviours of autistic children. But since a genetic mutation has been identified as the cause, it is no longer regarded as an ASD.


Since there is no medical test, such as a blood test, to diagnose ASD, doing so can be challenging. To determine a diagnosis, doctors consider the child’s behaviours and developmental stage. ASD can occasionally be identified in children as young as 18 months. A valid diagnosis made by a qualified expert can be assumed by the age of two.1 However, a lot of kids don’t get a definitive diagnosis until they’re considerably older. Some patients don’t receive a diagnosis until they are teenagers or adults. People with ASD may not receive the early assistance they require as a result of this delay.

Treatments and therapies

After diagnosis, ASD treatment should start as soon as feasible. Early ASD therapy is crucial because the right services and care can lessen individuals’ challenges while assisting them in building on their strengths and learning new abilities.

There is no one best treatment for ASD because people with ASD may experience a variety of problems. Finding the ideal treatment and service combination requires close collaboration with a healthcare professional.


A healthcare provider may prescribe medication to treat specific symptoms. With medication, a person with ASD may have fewer problems with:

  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Repetitive behaviour
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention problems
  • Anxiety and depression

Behavioural, psychological, and educational interventions

A healthcare professional with expertise in offering behavioural, psychological, educational, or skill-building therapies may be recommended to people with ASD. These programmes frequently involve carers, siblings, and other family members and are quite regimented and intensive. People with ASD may benefit from these programmes:

  • Learn social, communication, and language skills
  • Reduce behaviours that interfere with daily functioning
  • Increase or build upon strengths
  • Learn life skills for living independently


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