Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Detailed Guide

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders:
A Detailed Guide

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Autism spectrum disorders are neurodevelopmental conditions that affect how a person communicates. These disorders are a group of complex developmental disabilities characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication as well as repetitive behaviors. A person with an ASD may display strengths or weaknesses within each of the three key areas: social interactions, language/communication skills and patterns of interests and activities.

This condition is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people communicate and interact with others. It’s classified as a neurodevelopmental condition because it seems to be related to abnormal brain development. Autism Spectrum Disorders include autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, childhood disintegrative disorder, or Rett syndrome. This blog post will provide an overview of Autism, Signs, symptoms and the different types of autism spectrum disorders so you can better understand them.

Table of Contents

Autism Spectrum Disorders Types:

Based on the Diagnostic Manual for Mental Disorders, five types of pervasive developmental disorders are listed. These include autistic disorder (autistic), Rett’s Disorder (Rett syndrome or RTT), childhood disintegrative disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome (Asperger disorder or ASD), and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

Autistic Disorder:

This is the classic form of autism, which can be diagnosed in children as early as two years old. Characteristics include impairments in social interaction, communication skills and restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities.

Rett's Disorder:

This is a rare genetic disorder that affects girls almost exclusively. It is characterized by normal early development followed by regression of skills, most notably communication and social interaction. Girls with Rett syndrome often have problems walking and using their hands.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder:

Also known as Heller’s Syndrome, this is a condition that usually appears between the ages of three and four. Children lose skills they have learned, language abilities regress and motor functions decline. Most children with CDD develop normally for the first two years or so before their development begins to slow down, eventually leading them to lose acquired skills such as speech, social interactions and play activities.

Asperger's Syndrome:

This is a form of autism that affects boys four times more often than girls. On the milder end of the ASD, children with Asperger’s Syndrome usually have normal intelligence and language development but may have difficulty understanding social cues and expressing their thoughts and feelings. They may also engage in repetitive behaviors and activities.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder:

Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS): This is a general category for children who do not meet the criteria for any of the other pervasive developmental disorders but have similar symptoms to these conditions. PDD-NOS may be diagnosed if there are concerns about ASD development and behavior that do not meet the specific criteria for any one disorder.

Causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders:

The cause or causes of autism spectrum disorders are still unknown, however, research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible. Some theories about the possible causes of autism include:

– A problem with the way the brain develops. People with ASD tend to have oversize brains compared to their body size and some parts of the brain may be larger or smaller than normal.

– A problem in how nerve cells or synapses connect with each other (neurotransmitters). Studies indicate that people with autism spectrum disorders do not use serotonin effectively, which is a chemical that helps nerve cells communicate with each other.

– Exposure to certain toxins, viruses or chemicals in the womb or shortly after birth.

– Receiving too much or too little oxygen before, during or soon after birth.

– Premature birth

Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders:

There is no one treatment that works for all children with autism spectrum disorders. The goal of treatment is to help children achieve their fullest potential and improve their quality of life. Treatment may include behavioral, educational, social and/or medical interventions.

Behavioral Interventions:

These involve working on specific skills or behaviors that are a challenge for children with ASD. Types of behavioral intervention include Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Visual Supports, PECS and Social Stories.

Educational Interventions:

There are a variety of educational approaches to learning that can be used with children on the autism spectrum or those who have other developmental disabilities. Types of educational intervention include Applied Behavioral Analysis, Skill streaming and Picture Exchange Communication System(PECS).

Social Interventions:

These involve helping children build and strengthen their social skills, so they can interact with others more easily. Types of social intervention include Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) and Social Thinking Group Program.

Medical Interventions:

As a group, people on the autism spectrum tend to have certain medical problems more often than others. Some medical problems that may occur in people with ASD include: seizures, gastrointestinal issues, sleep problems and allergies. If a child has a health problem that is not being managed well, it can worsen their behavior and make it more difficult to treat their ASD.

Stem Cell Therapy for treating Autism Spectrum Disorder:

Stem Cell Therapy is the latest treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder, over the years many treatments have been developed.  R3 Stem Cell Pakistan is providing Regenerative Medicine Stem Cell Therapy in Pakistan. Although still in its initial stage this new treatment has shown promising results as it was able to reduce autism spectrum disorder symptoms. Some of the benefits that have been observed are; improved communication, socialization and interaction. It was also able to increase focus and attention span in children with ASD.

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