What are the symptoms of autism?
Autism symptoms can be different for everyone, so there are lots of ways to diagnose it. If you think your child might be on the autism spectrum, here are some signs you can look for:
1. Repetitive behavior or use of language
2. Delay in spoken language
3. Lack of interest in relationships with peers
4. Avoidance of spontaneous or make-believe play
5. Little or no eye contact
6. Fixation on specific topics or objects
7. Difficulty understanding other people's feelings
If you believe your child might have autism, it might be a good idea to talk to their doctor. They can usually refer you to a specialist who should be able to give you a better idea of what might be going on. In some cases, a child who shows symptoms of autism could actually have a different disorder with similar symptoms.
What causes autism?
Autism spectrum disorder can be caused by factors like genetics, environmental influences or even a combination of both. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, certain genetic mutations (or combinations of mutations) can:
1. Cause symptoms of autism,
2. Control how severe those symptoms are, or
3. Increase the chances that someone might develop autism once faced with certain factors from their environment.
Unless a person carries the risk of developing autism within their genes, experts at AutismSpeaks.org said that environmental factors probably won't put that child at risk of developing autism.
» RELATED: Can taking folic acid lower the risk of autism? New studies suggest it may help
Is there a cure for autism?
There is no known cure for autism, but there are a small number of people who have been diagnosed and then later moved off the spectrum. Sometimes children will show autism symptoms when they're young and they will grow out of it later. Other times, long-term treatment has helped people make progress. Each case can be completely different.
Treatment options for living with autism can be different based on a person's age and symptoms. In most cases, steady treatment, like therapy, can be helpful.
There are tons of resources out there to learn more about autism spectrum disorder. Autism Speaks has information about events and initiatives for anyone affected by the disorder (including the Global Autism Public Health Initiative). The CDC also offers plenty of statistics and resources through their website.
Locally, you can visit the Marcus Autism Center for pediatric autism treatment and additional resources.
Click here to read about the steps the Atlanta Braves are taking to make baseball games more accessible for fans with autism.