Autism is a complex development disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism. There is also a condition called Asperger Syndrome which is a form of autism used to describe people at the higher functioning end of the Autism Spectrum.
Characteristics of Autism
Social Communication (difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication)
Social Interaction (difficulty with social relationship)
Behaviour (repetitive restricted patterns of behaviour)
What causes Autism
Autism is a brain disorder which affect the way brain uses information. The exact cause or causes are unknown. Research shows that genetic factors are important. Autism may indeed result from a combination of several “causes”. Autism is brain based development disorder. No factors in the psychological environment of the child cause autism.
In 2021, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that approximately 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to 2018 data.
1 in 27 boys identified with autism.
1 in 116 girls identified with autism.
Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
Most children were still being diagnosed after age 4, though autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2.
31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability (intelligence quotient [IQ] <70), 25% are in the borderline range (IQ 71–85), and 44% have IQ scores in the average to above average range (i.e., IQ >85).
Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often.
Early intervention affords the best opportunity to support healthy development and deliver benefits across the lifespan.
Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be difficult because there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorder. Doctors look at the child’s developmental history and behaviour to make a diagnosis. Signs of autism usually appear by age 2 or 3. Some associated development delays can appear even earlier, and often, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends developmental and behavioural screening for all children during regular well-child visits at these ages: 9 months, 18 months and 30 months. In addition, AAP recommends that all children be screened specifically for ASD during regular well-child visits at these ages: 18 months and 24 months.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that it can appear in a range of forms and severity levels. The prognosis for a child with autism depends on the severity of their initial symptoms but can be influenced by early intervention and treatment.