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What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills.

Autism usually appears in the first 3 years of life. In the general population, autism affects about 1 in 250 births. There are about 1.5 million Americans that have some form of autism.

Autism affects boys 3 to 4 times more often than girls. It was first described by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943.

Children with autism may need therapy and special tutors.

Autism is also called:

  • Autistic disorder/autism spectrum;
  • Infantile autism;
  • Autistic-like/autistic tendencies;
  • High-functioning autism;
  • Low-functioning autism;
  • Pervasive developmental delay

What causes Autism?

The exact cause of autism is unknown. However, autism is a very active area of research.

Thimerosal and Autism

In recent years, there have been speculations that Thimerosal is linked to causing autism. Thimerosal is a preservative that has been used in some vaccines since the 1930’s. Thimerosal contains 49.6% mercury by weight. Mercury is a toxic metal that at high exposure levels can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor and behavioral disorders, especially in fetuses and infants whose brains are still developing.

Symptoms of Autism

Autism is a spectrum disorder. The symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations, from mild to severe.

Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, but children and adults can exhibit any combination of the behaviors in any degree of severity. Two children with autism can act very differently from one another and have varying skills.

Some of the most common symptoms of autism are listed below.

  • children younger than 2 years who have difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication
  • children younger than 2 years who have difficulties in social interactions
  • children who participate in aggressive play
  • children who have aggression towards themselves
  • insistence on sameness; resistance to change
  • using gestures or pointing instead of words to express needs
  • repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language
  • showing distress for reasons not apparent to others
  • little or no eye contact
  • unresponsive to normal teaching methods

Treatments for Autism

Hair Care Tips For Autistic And Sensory-Sensitive People

Treatments for Autism

Unfortunately, there is no standard treatment for autism. Different professionals have different philosophies and practices in caring for their patients.

Some common treatments are: biomedical and dietary therapies, behavioral therapies, and complementary therapies. In general, a combination of biomedical and behavioral therapies are usually most effective.


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