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What is Autism

What is Autism?

Autism is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects the development of physical, emotional, and social skills in an individual. People affected with the condition usually display difficulty in communicating and socializing with others and often keep to themselves.

Symptoms of Autism

Common symptoms of autism include:

  • A lack of eye-contact
  • Interest-only in a few select topics
  • Unnecessary repetition of tasks, words, or phrases
  • Being highly sensitive to certain visual stimuli, sounds, or smells
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Difficulty looking at things being pointed at
  • Preferring to stay away from physical contact and acts of affection like cuddling
  • Trouble understanding others or having a meaningful conversation
  • Using a robotic or singsong voice while talking
  • Trouble adapting to changes in routine
  • Experiencing seizures after adolescence (in rare cases)

Risk factors for Autism

Probable risk factors include:

  • Having an immediate family member with an autism
  • Genetic mutations
  • Being born to older parents
  • Low birth weight
  • Metabolic imbalances
  • Exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins
  • History of viral infections
  • Exposure to valproic acid or thalidomide 

Diagnosis of Autism

Autism may be suspected based on signs and symptoms exhibited, and if the child is not meeting normal growth and development milestones for their age. Certain tests may be conducted to evaluate cognitive ability as well as language and social skills to confirm a diagnosis of autism.