If you are considering a CAM, look out for certain claims and signs that suggest that the treatment may be unsound. These are as follows:. Some people with autistic spectrum disorder ASD grow up without their condition being recognised, but it's never too late to be diagnosed. Adults with ASD will need to consider where they'd like to live, and whether they might need any support at home. Adults with ASD can live in all types of housing. For example, some people may be suited to a residential care home, while others may prefer to live on their own and receive home support.
Others live completely independently. Supported living can work very well for some adults with ASD. They may need hour care, or they may only need help with important day-to-day tasks for a couple of hours each week. Some adults with ASD may not want to move out of the family home.
Caring for anyone with a disability can be challenging, and parents may need additional support. For information on services available go to the HSE below. It can be difficult for people with ASD to find employment. For example, they may find the work environment too noisy, or travelling to work is too stressful because of the crowds. Sudden changes in routine can be upsetting.
However, in the right job and with the right support, people with ASD have much to offer. They are often accurate, reliable and have a good eye for detail. Visit the Irish Society for Autism website to find help with getting a job. The characteristics of autistic spectrum disorder ASD can vary both from person to person and across different environments. They can also be different for the same person at different times in their life. That is why autism is usually referred to as a spectrum disorder.
The first characteristics of ASD can sometimes be seen in a child who is under the age of two. However, in other children, the condition may not be picked up until they are much older. A person who has ASD may have difficulty using verbal and non-verbal skills, and some people may remain non-verbal throughout their lives.
People with ASD who do speak, may use speech in an over-complicated way, using odd phrases, or odd choices of words. They may also make up their own words or phrases, and use more words than are necessary to explain simple things.
Someone with ASD may also have difficulty:. Some people with ASD may develop echolalia, where they repeat words that have little meaning, or repeat what has been said to them. In addition, children and adults may develop obsessions, for example, with specific objects, lists, timetables or routines. Most people with ASD also have sensory difficulties. This means that they may be oversensitive to specific things like touch, certain textures, light levels, or sound.
Sensory difficulties can also lead to problems with movement. A person with ASD may appear clumsy or have an unusual way of walking. Asperger syndrome is another form of ASD. People with Asperger syndrome will generally not have a learning disability and are often of average, or above average, intelligence.
They will usually have fewer problems with language development but may still experience difficulties with social communication. Asperger syndrome is often diagnosed later in children and sometimes their difficulties may not be recognised and diagnosed until adulthood. This can cause a delay in getting appropriate support for the individual and their family.
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Content provided by NHS Choices www. Welcome Logout. Skip to main content. Quit Smoking Drugs. Asperger syndrome see Autistic spectrum disorders. Impaired language and communication skills, such as delayed language development and an inability to start conversations or take part in them properly. Unusual patterns of thought and physical behaviour. This includes making repetitive physical movements, such as hand tapping or twisting.
In very broad terms, there are three main types of ASD: Autistic disorder, sometimes known as 'classic autism'. Asperger syndrome. Autistic disorder Children with autistic disorder usually have significant problems with language, social interaction and behaviour. Asperger syndrome Children with Asperger syndrome have milder symptoms that affect social interaction and behaviour. How common are autistic spectrum disorders?
ASD are uncommon but not rare. It is estimated that 1 in every children has an ASD. Are rates of ASD rising? Some campaigners believe that the rise in cases is due to childhood vaccination programmes: A side effect of the MMR mumps, measles and rubella vaccine. This claim has often been made in Ireland. A side effect of a mercury-containing compound called thiomersal, which is used as a preservative in some vaccines.
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This claim is often made in the US. Outlook The outlook for children with ASD usually depends on how severe their symptoms are and, especially, their level of intelligence. Symptoms of autistic spectrum disorder. Your baby does not follow your gaze. For example, when you look at your watch, a non-ASD baby would copy you and look at your watch as well. Alternatively, your baby does not look at objects that have been pointed out to them. Your baby does not 'babble', i. Your baby does not seem to recognise or respond to your voice, yet is aware of other sounds, such as a bell ringing or a dog barking.
Your baby shows little interest in drawing your attention to things by pointing to them or pulling your hand towards them.
Your baby rarely, or never, makes gestures such as pointing or waving. The signs and symptoms that often develop during this age are explained below. Language development Your child may have delayed speech, or not speak at all. Playing Your child may have little interest in playing with toys in an imaginative way, yet they play in a repetitive manner.
Social interaction Many children with ASD often appear to look straight through someone. Behaviour Many children with ASD develop a repetitive pattern of physical behaviour. Examples of sterotypies include: flicking their fingers, flapping their hands, rocking back and forth, persistent and unexplained sniffing, and licking objects. Signs and symptoms that can develop in older children and teenagers are explained below. Language Though most children with autistic disorder or PDD-NOS improve their language skills, specific difficulties with language may persist, such as: referring to themselves as 'you', 'she' or 'he' rather than 'I', repeating words and phrases, 'parrot-fashion', that they have just heard, or have learnt from watching a film or TV programme, speaking in pre-learned phrases, such as 'I want it now' or 'Where are we going', rather than putting together individual words to form new sentences, their speech has an unusual rhythm, stress or tone, and being unable to start or join in with a conversation unless it is about specific topics that interest them, such as dinosaurs or trains.
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For example, speaking very formally at a party and then speaking to total strangers in a familiar way, and taking people's speech literally, and being unable to understand humour, sarcasm, metaphors or figures of speech. Glossary Hyperactivity Hyperactivity is a higher than normal level of activity and restlessness. Causes of autistic spectrum disorder.
Secondary ASD: there is an underlying medical condition that is thought to be responsible, or partially responsible, for the symptoms of ASD. Neurological factors: specific problems with the development of the brain and nervous system could contribute towards the symptoms of ASD. Each of these factors is discussed in more depth below. Genetic factors Most researchers believe certain genes that a child inherits from their parents could make them more vulnerable to developing an ASD.
Some suggested environmental factors include: the mother having a viral or bacterial infection during pregnancy, maternal smoking during pregnancy, paternal age the age of the father , air pollution, and pesticides. There is evidence to support the first three factors listed above. Neurological factors Much of the research into the neurological factors that may be associated with ASD has focused on the part of the brain known as the amygdala. The limbic system: the part of the brain that regulates your emotion.
As a person becomes older, the mirror neurones create more complex pathways in the brain that may be involved in many of the higher brain functions, such as: language, the ability to learn from others, and the ability to recognise and understand other people's emotional states Theory of Mind. It is estimated that one in every 3, boys and one in every 6, girls are born with the condition. Children with Fragile X syndrome usually develop certain facial and bodily characteristics, such as a long face, large ears and flexible joints.
It causes symptoms of ASD, and difficulties with physical movement and development. It is estimated that one in every 20, girls is born with Rett syndrome. Genes Genes contain information that you inherit from your parents, such as eye or hair colour. They are carried by chromosomes. Brain The brain controls thought, memory and emotion.
It sends messages to the body to control movement, speech and senses. Treating autistic spectrum disorder. The intervention should be intensive. Your child should be actively involved for at least 25 hours a week, 12 months a year. The intervention should have a low teacher-to-student ratio i. This is to ensure that your child has plenty of one-to-one interaction with the teacher and that any group work is done in small teams of students. The intervention should involve family members, with a particular emphasis on parent training.
The intervention should provide opportunity for interaction with other children without ASD. This so that your child reaches certain developmental goals. The intervention should be highly structured, i. The intervention should contain opportunities for your child to apply any newly learnt skills in new environments and situations.
For example, visiting new places, or meeting with people your child does not know. Any intervention should focus on important aspects of your child's development. These are: communication skills , such as the ability to start conversations, social interaction skills , such as the ability to understand other people's feelings and then respond to them, cognitive skills , such as encouraging imaginative play, and academic skills , the 'traditional' skills that a child needs in order to progress with their education, such as reading, writing and maths. Some widely used interventions for ASD are explained below.
Rewarding and reinforcing positive behaviour while discouraging and redirecting inappropriate behaviour. Speech and language therapy SLT Speech and language therapy is a type of skills training designed to improve your child's language skills, which can improve their ability to interact with others socially. For example, being able to tell when the person who is speaking is happy or upset, and the ability to understand non-literal language, such as metaphor or figures of speech.
Funding Many of the interventions mentioned above take a lot of time and labour, and can cost a significant amount of money. Medication There is no available medication to treat the core symptoms of ASD, but medication can treat some of the related symptoms, such as: repetitive thoughts and behaviour, and aggressive behaviour, such as tantrums or self-harming.
Symptoms of mild to moderate serotonin syndrome include: confusion, agitation, muscle twitching, sweating, shivering and diarrhoea. Symptoms of severe serotonin syndrome include: a high temperature fever of or above Complementary and alternative medicines CAM A number of studies have found that most parents have tried at least one type of complementary and alternative medicine CAM to improve their child's symptoms. In terms of diet, do not make changes to your child's diet without first consulting your GP.
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Risks associated with chelation therapy include: high temperature, headache, nausea, vomiting, kidney damage, and liver failure. These are as follows: Treatments that are based on overly simplified scientific theories. For example, the theory that ASD is caused by mercury in the body. The treatment is claimed to effectively treat a wide range of unrelated symptoms.
Treatments that claim to offer dramatic results or the possibility of a cure. Read More. As Sheffer meticulously documents and proves in her book, Asperger collaborated with Nazi Germany in unforgivable ways. As a result of the historical research by Sheffer and Czech, we now need to revise our views, and probably also our language. The revelations in this book are a chilling reminder that the highest priority in both clinical research and practice must be compassion.
As Sheffer suggests at the end of her searing, wonderfully written book, the least that can be done to honour the memory of those children killed in his name is to excise it from popular use. On 1 July , a young Austrian physician named Hans Asperger signed a document transferring a toddler named Herta Schreiber to Spiegelgrund, an asylum for mentally ill children on the outskirts of Vienna.
Two-year-old Herta had suffered diphtheria and meningitis, leaving her severely disabled. A haunting photograph of the crying toddler, her head shaven, taken soon after her arrival at Spiegelgrund, is all that survives of Herta. She died two months after her admission to Spiegelgrund, where the Nazis would kill nearly children between and Nurses personally fed and changed [their] sheets…. Death came slowly, painfully, as children would be starved or given overdoses of barbiturates until they grew ill and died, usually of pneumonia. What we now call autism has surely been a part of the human condition for as long as human beings have existed.
But the way different cultures understand, talk about and treat people who exhibit the symptoms of autism — difficulty or disinterest in social interactions, repetitive behaviors and language impairments — can vary widely. Far from the much more severely affected patients described by Leo Kanner, the Johns Hopkins psychiatrist who first wrote about autism in the United States, these children were often intelligent, even brilliant. The idea that autism could mean difference rather than disorder, that neurodiversity could represent a source of strength, stemmed in part from his work in curative education, a field that came from the cosmopolitan, leftist milieu of Vienna between the world wars.
A shy and bookish child, Hans Asperger grew up to love science and nature, hiking and mountain-climbing, and the conservative Catholicism of his youth. After UC Berkeley historian Edith Sheffer learned that her month-old son had autism, she did what many parents in her situation do: She read everything she could. And like many parents, Sheffer soon came across stories about Hans Asperger. Back in World War II Vienna, Asperger described qualities that are popularly used to explain socially awkward, single-minded math and science whizzes. A new book by Bay Area scholar of German history Edith Sheffer tells a detailed, grisly story of the Nazi disability death machine and the role within it played by Hans Asperger, the Vienna clinician for whom the now defunct diagnosis of "Asperger's Syndrome" was named.
The Austrian pediatrician for whom Asperger syndrome is named doesn't deserve the honour of that title, because he collaborated with Nazis to euthanize children, according to a professor. Hans Asperger conducted pioneering research into what he termed "autistic psychopathy" during the Second World War in Vienna, but was also involved in screening children in line with Nazi policies on eugenics.
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