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1 Apr 2019
Autism disorder, also called autistic disorder or simply autism, is not a disease but rather a developmental disability affecting the brain that usually always manifests itself by the age of three.

Autism is considered to be a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) and it is estimated that some form of the condition affects as many as six to eight of every 1,000 children today. There is no one set of symptoms or behaviors typical of all people with autism as the condition can cause a vast spectrum of symptoms ranging from the mild to the severe.

Autism is four times more likely to affect males than females, for reasons still unknown, and the condition knows no social, racial, or ethnic boundaries.

Some different types of autism include Asperger's syndrome in which language skills aren't affected but social problems abound, and Rett Syndrome, a form of autism that only affects females who seem to develop normally but then lose their social skills and communicative abilities before replacing normal hand movements with repetitive ones.

Children with autism aren't able to interact socially with their peers, including their own parents and family, and have limited communication skills. Autistic children often demonstrate some type of repetitive behavior whether it's rocking back and forth or saying the same phrase repeatedly. Some are preoccupied with certain objects, usually those that move or have lights to capture their attention

Effectively Dealing with Autism Disorder

Despite the increasing number of children diagnosed with autism every year, the number of viable treatments also expands as different methods and strategies are proven to be successful. Currently the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a few different strategies, each with many facets to them, for treating autism disorder and improving function.

A child affected by autism will have their own set of unique learning needs that must be tailored to them individually, making no one strategy the most effective for every single child diagnosed with the disorder. Also, treatments must vary and be adapted to the changing needs of the child as they grow older.

Helene Goldnadel says that a structured and specialized treatment program that addresses the child's capabilities should include methods of improving communication and social skills along with implementing the best means of facilitating learning and development.

Several types of behavioral training are used as autism therapies including the commonly used ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as specialized therapies involving separate components for occupational, physical, and speech therapy, and of course, medication when necessary.

ABA programs will address aspects of improving communication and social skills along with advancing academic development by setting small, attainable goals. Children will work extensively with a therapist who has been highly trained in the world of autism and the therapy has been shown to be most effective when it begins with children under five, although older children will still benefit.

Ongoing training for parents and caregivers along with support from the community, friends and family are also imperative when dealing with autism disorder.

There are also a number of alternative therapies to consider, however, be sure to research any treatments or therapies thoroughly and seek the advice and recommendation of your doctor before proceeding.

Unfortunately, there are no preventative measures known as of yet that will reduce the likelihood of a child developing an autism disorder, nor a means to initially gauge the severity of their condition. However, with plenty of support and knowledge on the subject, families touched by autism disorder will have a far easier time dealing with the condition and its possible ramifications.


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