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 Finland disease statistics were given as despite the rapid advances in genetics, most clinical research has not considered genetic and individual differences by conducting “genotype-up” research studies. Instead, the studies have been “phenotype-down” research in which a broad, behaviorally defined group of individuals are considered to establish a research sample. In many studies, all individuals with “autism spectrum disorders” are eligible for participation, and neuroimaging, neuropsychological tests, or other modalities are used to examine differences between subjects with ASD and those with typical development.