Autism can affect all types of people. It is a developmental disability that can make the world a challenging place. People with autism can experience difficulties with communication and social interaction. Autism can impact a person’s behavior and also the way they experience sounds and colors. Some people with autism struggle with change and live very strict routines. The way autism affects each individual can vary greatly, with some people with autism needing more assistance in daily life than others.
Although we are understanding more about autism as a nation, there are still many myths surrounding it. This is why it’s important to learn the facts about autism and its complexities of it. Autism diagnosis now relates to other similar conditions that were separately diagnosed in the past. These include Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder and autistic disorder. All of these conditions are now grouped together under autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
If you are concerned about your child or think that you may display signs of autism, get in touch with us for more information on how we can help. Read on for 10 facts about autism.
Facts About Autism
1. Autism Manifests in Many Ways
The way in which autism affects someone can be different from person to person. Someone with autism may have difficulty emotionally and socially. They may find it difficult to communicate with others and often struggle to pay attention and react to certain situations. For most people, autism begins to surface in childhood, but can manifest in different ways. A child or an adult with autism may look away when they are spoken to, find making eye contact difficult, and not look at objects when someone else points at them. Many people with autism can have difficulties relating to others and some may not even have an interest in other people. Some people with autism may be very interested in other people and the world around them, but find it difficult to interact with others.
Touch is something that people with autism can struggle with. Therefore, hugging or being held may be something that they feel very uncomfortable with. Someone on the autism spectrum may seem unaware of a conversation and as if they are disinterested but react to other noises around them. Routine is important to many people with autism, changes to their daily routine can come as a shock and adapting to change can be very challenging.
For someone with autism, the world can be overwhelming in many ways. Sometimes, this can feel too intense and manifest in what is known as a “meltdown.” A meltdown can take the form of the person screaming, shouting or hitting out and having no control over their emotions or actions. Some people with autism have learned to control their emotions more than others, but emotional control is a common challenge.
2. Some Genetic Disorders Increase Risk
There are many myths that surround autism. Autism isn’t caused by environmental or social issues. However, some genetic disorders have been associated with increasing the risk of autism. These include Fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis. Fragile X syndrome can cause intellectual disability, while tuberous sclerosis can affect the brain and other areas of the body through benign tumors. Recent research has also led to the discovery of new genetic mutations in children with autism. Some of these are not yet named syndromes. Although the disorders that increase the risk of autism are rare, they may relate to around 20 percent of cases. Epilepsy is also common in people with autism and is often diagnosed in childhood, with nearly 20 to 30 percent of people with autism being diagnosed with epilepsy before they reach their adult years.
3. Symptoms Can Change Throughout Life
Autism can develop differently in each person. The symptoms and difficulties that people face can change throughout life. Most children that are diagnosed with autism will find that their symptoms can improve as they age. Treatment will usually be needed throughout life and medication may need to be altered over time. Some people with autism can live life with little intervention, whereas others may need assistance with day-to-day life and work. Some people require the assistance of services over the course of their lifetime.
4. Some People Have Genetic Predispositions
Studies suggest that it is possible for someone to have a genetic predisposition to autism. For example, in the case of identical twins, if one twin has autism, it is fairly common for the other twin to also have the disorder. Furthermore, in families where one child has autism, the likelihood of having a second child with autism increases. There is still much more research needed surrounding genetics and autism. However, some studies have also shown that as well as inherited genetic variations, gene mutations that can happen during conception may influence the chances of autism developing.
5. There Are Several Autism Treatment Options
Although is not curable, it is treatable. Many people with autism undertake various treatment options to make their condition more manageable. Zinnia Health offers the ADOS screening tool to help diagnose autism and then identify suitable treatment options. Treatments normally center around therapies and interventions focusing on behavioral issues. Early intervention is recommended for the best outcome, with many children with autism benefiting from therapy sessions. Therapies are intensive sessions that teach children to develop in areas that they find challenging, such as language and social skills.
Family therapies can also be very helpful for parents of children with autism and offer a supportive environment to discuss difficulties.
Medication cannot cure autism or alleviate the main symptoms. However, many people can benefit from medication that can help treat other symptoms commonly found in people with autism. These include OCD, anxiety, and depression. Some people require antipsychotic medication to help manage more severe behavioral issues. There is a range of medications that can help people with autism, depending on the symptoms and challenges they face.
Email Zinnia Health for information about the ADOS screening tool and treatment options.
6. Autism Is More Common in Boys
Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. It is thought that only between 25 to 35 percent of people diagnosed with autism are female. However, it is important to understand that the number of females with autism isn’t necessarily as low as this. This is because the symptoms of autism are often more identifiable in males than in females, meaning there is often a gender bias in statistics. This is one of the lesser-known facts about autism.
7. Autism Diagnosis Is Possible From an Early Age
Diagnosing autism isn’t as easy as diagnosing other conditions. This is because there are no medical tests to assist with diagnosis. Instead, practitioners use screening tools to look for certain traits and behaviors in individuals. Diagnosing autism in children is often based on their development, known facts about autism and certain behaviors that they display. Generally, by the age of two, experienced professionals will have a good idea of whether an ASD diagnosis is appropriate. Sometimes, a child younger than two may also display symptoms. For many people, diagnosis happens later in life, but it is possible to diagnose someone with autism at an early age.
There are early signs that parents and professionals can look out for and facts about autism to be aware of. These include not making eye contact, limited verbal communication, and spending time alone. Often, a child with autism will not be interested in other children. They may also show little interest in their parents or guardians. A child with autism may also rely heavily on routine and find it very distressing if a routine is changed. Missing milestones can also be an indicator of autism. For example, walking or talking later than most other children of a similar age.
8. People With Autism Can Be High Achievers
This is one of the most important facts about autism. An autism diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean someone is less capable than others. Many people with the disorder can lead exciting, fulfilling lives and be high achievers. Autism is recognized in schools and academic institutions. This means that measures can be put in place to provide additional assistance to people with autism, allowing them to access education like everybody else.
With the right help, many people that have autism can be high achievers in a broad range of careers in various industries, such as science, medicine or film, and TV.
9. Autism Can Appear Differently in Boys and Girls
As mentioned earlier, males with autism significantly outnumber females. This may be due to females not displaying the signs of autism as obviously as males. This can lead to many females going undiagnosed as a result. Research suggests that girls are able to mask the signs of autism more successfully than boys and hide the challenges that they face. Studies have found that girls with autism as young as preschool-age find ways to fit in among their peers.
Boys are more likely to socially withdraw and show little interest in others. Girls on the other hand seem to be more able to mimic others around them and blend in. Many girls can do this throughout their school years and mask their difficulties in front of their teachers and peers.
Although girls are better at masking their symptoms, they can struggle socially as much as boys. Many girls may find it difficult to know how to respond in certain social situations. Additionally, some girls may have “meltdowns” more at home, where they are able to be themselves and take off their “mask.” Because of these different experiences in educational and home settings, it can be difficult for a diagnosis to be made. Often, with an autism diagnosis, physicians look for consistency. This means displaying consistent signs of autism in various settings. When talking about autism and gender, it’s always important to remember that there is likely a large number of women with autism that go their entire lives without a diagnosis.
10. Early Intervention Can Greatly Enhance the Quality of Life
One of the most significant facts about autism is that getting an early diagnosis can greatly enhance the life quality of someone with autism. A diagnosis means that treatment can be arranged and interventions or extra support can be put in place as soon as possible. Diagnosis in childhood can mean that school years become more manageable and the chance of succeeding is greater.
Early diagnosis is not only beneficial for the child with autism, but it can also be beneficial to parents and family members. An early autism diagnosis means that parents and family members can learn the ways to support their child. They’ll also be able to access support and resources that can be useful to everyone involved.
Diagnosis can help to minimize the distress a child experiences as they grow up. It can also mean they will be less likely to develop psychiatric illnesses. As autism is a disorder that affects an individual throughout their life, finding ways to help them navigate the world as early as possible is essential.
Children that receive treatment earlier can find it easier to develop the social skills and behaviors that they find difficult. Therapy can also include teaching children ways to cope in uncomfortable situations.
If after reading the “Top 10 Facts About Autism to Know,” you think that your child may have autism, then getting a diagnosis as early as possible can be a great help. At Zinnia Health, our clinicians use the ADOS screening tool to identify signs of autism.
Call us today at (855) 430-9439.