Autism affects a great many children all around the world. The numbers today show an increase in autism of more than six times as compared to statistics measured in the 80s. Scientists aren’t sure why the numbers are rising; the good news, however, is that people are learning fast how to live with and manage this disorder.
What Is Autism?
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects children about six months after their birth. If left untreated, the disease progresses fast and blocks the ability of the child to communicate and interact emotionally with the outside world. The child retreats more and more into their inner sanctum as they gradually cut off any connection with or feeling for outside reality.
There are two main types of autism – one is called mild autism and the other complex autism. A great deal of research has been done on both these aspects, but not much progress has been made in the search for a cure. However, the studies led to the development of a number of educational methods and therapy treatments, which, even though they do not cure, can check the progress of the disorder and even reverse it in some lucky cases.
Children suffering from mild autism are actually more difficult to diagnose -- and they are actually at higher risk of the disorder to become full blown -- than those with complex autism. On the other hand mild autism is easier to counter if diagnosed early enough; children suffering from mild autism can actually live close to normal lives with the right medication and therapy.
The Symptoms of Autism
This disease has some peculiarities, which today makes diagnosis easy. However, it can be diagnosed only when the child is old enough to interact with others, obviously, so this is why the earliest age at which the doctor can identify the disorder is about 14 to 16 months of age. Some of the major symptoms that are manifested in both mild autism and complex autism cases include:
* No reaction to pain * No laughter or smile – the child is unable to express happiness * No reaction to scolding or even physical abuse (such as beating, pushing, etc) * Does not want any physical contact; moves away even from mother’s hug * Becomes fascinated with numbers or any continuous mechanical movement * Loves to shake or spin self * Reacts violently to sound, even at normal levels * Poor communications skills * Loves repetitive movements or games * Gets inseparably attached to unusual objects * Does not like company and moves away from interacting with others
These traits are seen in both types of autism – that is, mild autism and complex autism. The symptoms vary from person to person, and they will be more pronounced in the case of complex autism rather than in mild autism. The treatment for both, however, is the same: care, love and tremendous amount of therapy and patient teaching through repetition.