Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, refers to a range of neurological conditions that affect how people think, act, communicate and perceive the world around them. Typically characterized by difficulty in communication, both verbally and non-verbally, and challenges with social skills, people who suffer autism normally do so throughout their life.
There is no common list of symptoms amongst those with autism; each case is unique. Those with autism may have difficulty forming relationships or understanding abstract concepts, although autism encompasses a broad range of symptoms and patients will exhibit a variety of strengths and weaknesses.
- Autism affects about 1 in every 100 New Zealanders
- Autism is five times more likely to be diagnosed in boys than girls
- Diagnosis is most common between ages 5 and 14
Signs and Symptoms:
No two people with autism are alike, so if you believe you or your child has autism you should consult a healthcare professional. Below is a list of common symptoms amongst both adults and children:
- Difficulty in social settings
- Tendency towards order and routine
- Difficulty understanding or interpreting non-verbal cues
- Difficulty communicating
- Difficulty developing relationships and human connections
Causes and Treatment:
The cause of autism is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.
Autism therapy can involve behavioural treatments such as occupational and speech therapy, and sometimes medication. Because no two people with autism are alike, there is no “one size fits all” treatment plan, but rather treatment focuses on the specific symptoms of the individual patient.