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Autism and Asperger

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Autism and Asperger

NIH - Medical Encyclopedia Autism "Most parents of autistic children suspect that something is wrong by the time the child is 18 months old and seek help by the time the child is 2. Children with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interactions, and pretend play. In some, aggression -- toward others or self -- may be present. Some children with autism appear normal before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly "regress" and lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is called the regressive type of autism. People with autism may perform repeated body movements, show unusual attachments to objects or have unusual distress when routines are changed. Individuals may also experience sensitivities in the senses …"

NIH - Medical Encyclopedia Asperger syndrome "The child with Asperger shows below-average nonverbal communication gestures, fails to develop peer relationships, has an inability to express pleasure in other people's happiness, and lacks the ability to reciprocate emotionally in normal social interactions. The condition appears to be more common in boys than in girls. There are likely genetic factors, but some theories suggest a prenatal infection may be to blame. While people with Asperger syndrome are frequently socially inept, many have above-average intelligence, and they may excel in fields like computer programming and science. There is no delay in cognitive development, in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, or in curiosity about the environment. Generally, there is no language development delay."

NHS (UK) - Autistic spectrum disorder "Autistic spectrum disorder is the term that is used to describe a group of disorders, including autism and Asperger syndrome. The word 'spectrum' is used because the characteristics of the condition vary from one person to another. Those with autism may also have a learning disability. Those who have Asperger syndrome tend to have average, or above average, intelligence, but still have difficulty making sense of the world. The causes of ASD are still unknown, and research is ongoing. However, research suggests that genetic factors may be involved, and there is also some evidence to show that the condition may be linked to environmental factors, such as pollution, or viruses like rubella (German measles). Recent research suggests that around 1 in 100 people have ASD in the UK. It is thought to affect four times as many males than females, although the reason for this is unknown."

NHS (UK) - Autistic spectrum disorder: Diagnosis for adults "Describing your experiences AS is characterised by something known as the triad of impairments. People with AS will be affected in some way by each of these impairments. The autistic spectrum is very broad and two people with the condition may have very different symptoms. No one person will have all the traits but most people with AS will usually have problems in the following three areas. Social communication Difficulty understanding gestures, body language and facial expressions, a lack of social motivation and difficulties making friends Social understanding Difficulties in group situations, problems understanding double meanings and jokes, and choosing topics that are not appropriate to talk about. Imagination This can include difficulty with imagining alternative outcomes and finding it hard to predict what will happen next. This frequently leads to anxiety and can show itself as: An obsession with rigid routines and severe distress if routines are disrupted. Problems with making plans for the future. Problems with sequencing tasks. Secondary traits of Asperger syndrome People with AS tend to have difficulties which relate to the triad but are not included within it. These can include: obsessive compulsive behaviours, obsessive interests in just one topic, social phobias, acute anxiety, depression, social isolation and clumsiness, often linked to a condition known as dyspraxia."

NHS - Autism: real story (Daniel and his family talk about how cycling has helped them all to cope with autism)

Highlighted Articles

Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the First 3 Years of Life (Nature Clinical Practice Neurology 2008) “The age at diagnosis of ASD ranges from 3 to 6 years, but there is increasing evidence that diagnosis in the second year of life is possible in some children. Early diagnosis will lead to earlier behavior-based intervention, which is associated with improvements in core areas, such as social functioning and communication. Early detection of—and intervention to treat—ASD is crucial because it is likely to lead to an improved outcome.”

A Prospective Study of Response to Name in Infants at Risk for Autism (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2007) "Conclusions Failure to respond to name by age 12 months is highly suggestive of developmental abnormality but does not identify all children at risk for developmental problems. Lack of responding to name is not universal among infants later diagnosed with ASD and/or other developmental delays. Poor response to name may be a trait of the broader autism phenotype in infancy."

Structure of the Autism Symptom Phenotype: A Proposed Multidimensional Model. (Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2007) "Conclusions: The pervasive developmental disorder symptom phenotype is composed of three domains or factors: social-communication, inflexible language and behavior, and repetitive sensory and motor behavior. Each child with pervasive developmental disorder can be characterized by these dimensions, which give an informative picture of the clinical presentation and a quantitative estimate of the severity of the disability."

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Autism and Asperger

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