Definition: Autism is a general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviours. In recent times all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of Autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Symptoms and Treatment: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas. Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. Each child or adult with autism is unique so, each autism intervention plan should be tailored to address specific needs. Intervention can involve behavioral treatments, medicines or both. Many persons with autism have additional medical conditions such as sleep disturbance, seizures and gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Addressing these conditions can improve attention, learning and related behaviors.
Statistics: In Australia disease statistics were given as the increased recognition and diagnosis of autism in recent years may itself be a contributing factor to the apparent rise in its prevalence.Autism is classified as a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) characterized by severe impairments in social interaction and communication.Although the cause of autism is unknown, it is theorized that genetics and environmental factors may play a role in its development. As a possible environmental factor, the vaccine preservative thimerosal has been suggested as a source of mercury toxicity, subsequently leading to development of neurodevelopmental disorders in early childhood.