Autism affects the brain by creating differences in the way autistic people think, feel and handle socialization with others. Though autistic children are generally highly intelligent, autism impairs them by affective their communication and interaction with others, and the way they respond to external stimuli.
Autism is one condition within a larger group of developmental disorders. This collective grouping of disorders is often referred to as autism spectrum disorder.
About 1 in 67 children are autistic, and boys are more likely to be autistic than girls.
Autistic children can often be identified by their difficulty in expressing themselves, or understanding others. They have difficulty socializing with other children, and they often also engage in repetitive or obsessive behaviors.
There are also varying degrees of autism. Some severely autistic children have serious developmental delays, and may never speak. In a milder case of autism, a child may be highly functioning and display extreme intelligence, with only slight speech delays.
Some autistic children are aggressive, while others avoid any contact, even eye contact, with others.
In some cases, autistic children become so focused on a single activity they are oblivious to all else, even pain. Other typical autistic behaviors include hand flapping or repetitive rocking.
A strict schedule can be a benefit to most autistic children. A regular routine makes it easier for them to understand what is expected of them, and brings order to their sometimes chaotic lives.
Because there is no medical cure for autism, parents of autistic children rely on therapies like behavioral modification to help their children. These therapies involve teaching children to deal with socialization, build communication skills, and strategies for dealing with obsessive or compulsive behaviors.
Early treatment is often the only way children afflicted with this developmental disorder can expect the best prognosis. When treatments are begun early in the autistic child's life, they often see improvement as they grow, and in some cases, they learn to accommodate their differences and can lead relatively normal lives.
According to statistics, there are about 400,000 autistic children in the United States. Though many of these children exhibit average intelligence levels, there are about 10 percent that have high intelligence, especially reflected in specific areas. Autistic children are known to be highly creative, for example.
Providing your autistic child with a consistent daily routine, and regular therapy, as well as your patience, is key to ensuring that your child will attain their full potential. Don't underestimate them, as often their ability to learn and grow, in spite of their autism, will surprise you.
Above all, love your autistic child, as he is uniquely and wonderfully made. Every day new discoveries are being made, and with continued research and development, new treatments are continuing to be developed and tested, and it may not be long before the keys to unlocking the mystery of autism are found, helping these children to become the best they can be.