Autism is a neurological disorder that begins anytime between birth and two and a half years of age. The disorder can range from mild to severe. While autistic children look normal, their behavior is different from other children of their age and can be puzzling or even disturbing. They might suffer from social deficits, would have communication issues, and would indulge in bizarre or repetitive behavior. Earlier a rare occurrence, autism now effects one in 150 children. Normally, the medical prognosis is better for children who are treated earlier. Interestingly, autism is not just one disorder, but is rather a spectrum of five disorders, each with its own set of symptoms. An examination of these will help parents identify any similar symptoms that their child might exhibit and will be able to get early treatment for their child.
Different Types Of Autism
This brain disorder is one in which there is marred social functioning, thinking and feeling. The child is unable to respond properly, to communicate, or to form relationships with others.
- Problems with verbal and non-verbal communication.
- Repetitive behavior.
- Obsessed interests.
- Difficulties with social interaction.
This developmental disorder has, as its peculiarity, a lesser or greater amount damage to communication and language skills. There is also restrictive or repetitive patterns in behavior and thought. Contrary to Classic Autism, the children affected with Asperger Syndrome do not lose their early language skills as this disorder progresses.
- Obsessive interest in a single topic to the exclusion of all else.
- Peculiarities in language and speech.
- Inability to converse non-verbally
- Inappropriate behavior, both social as well as emotional.
- Uncoordinated and clumsy motor movements
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
This is a much rarer disorder than many other types of autism and is one in which there are varying degrees of regression in social interaction, developmental motor skills and communication skills. This affects less than 2 out of 100,000 children who suffer from any of the autism spectrum disorders. Most of the sufferers are males and the regression usually begins when the child is between 2 to 4 years of age.
- Issues with neurobiology of the brain
- Cessation of socializing
- Lack of interaction with peers to play, etc.
- Loss of motor skills
- Loss of control over bladder or bowel movements.
- Gradual loss of acquired language and communication skills
This is a relatively rare form of autism, which primarily effects females and occurs in one out of 10,000 to 15,000 people. Rett Syndrome is a neuro-development disorder due to a gene mutation which end up producing too much of a protein required by the brain to function normally.
- Mutation of the MECP2 gene
- Regression of social development
- Lack of response to social contact
- Loss of control or excess movement of limbs
- Extreme anxiety
- Loss of communication skills
Pervasive Development Disorder
When children display general symptoms of autism, but when the symptoms do not fall into those peculiar to Classic Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder or Rett Syndrome, these would be classified as part of pervasive Development Disorder. Symptoms could appear at infancy or any time before the child reaches the age of 3.
- Problems with the nervous system (spinal cord and brain)
- Inability to communicate or use language
- Repetitive behavior patterns or body movements
- Trouble associating with objects, events or people
- Strange play methods with toys and other objects that the child can find
- Trouble handling changes in familiar surroundings or in routine