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Autism child therapy


Emerging in early childhood, autism is a developmental disorder that affects one in every 166 babies. Its symptoms appear usually within the first three years, and involve the person's ability to communicate. Children with autism often have difficulty in forming friendships or relating to the people around them; they may have difficulty to express affection or enjoy the warmth of being huggedi. Other common signs are poor development of language skills, lack of responsiveness and an inclination to withdraw socially.

Autism falls within a broader range of disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Of the three main types, Autistic disorder is the most severe and Asperger syndrome the least. When a child has symptoms falling somewhere in between, he is diagnosed with PDD-NOS or Pervasive Developmental Disorders Not Otherwise Specified. Two rare and very severe forms exist as well, known as Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, affecting about 1 in every 100,000 children and Rett Syndrome, affecting 1 in 10-15,000 children (mostly girls)ii.

What Causes Autism?

Research into the causes of the disorder is ongoing. Studies indicate that the reasons are not psychological, but rather neurological, involving a dysfunction of the brain. Some studies point to genetic predispositioniii. Other US studies are investigating whether environmental factors, such as exposure to heavy metals such as lead or mercury, might in some way be linked to ASDiv.

Are Incidences of Autism Increasing?

A study published by the Center for Disease Control (DCD) in 2003 did show a higher rate of appearance of ASD than in the 1980s and early 90s. Its current rate is lower than that of mental retardation, but higher than that of hearing loss, vision impairment or cerebral palsy. Another recent review study concluded that autism had increased tenfold, from less than 3 per 10,000 children in the 1970s to over 30 per 10,000 in the 90s. Reported rates for full spectrum ASDs rose from 5-10 per 10,000 to 50-80 per 10,000 in the same time frame. An analysis of data from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act shows an 805% cumulative growth rate for autism from 1992-2003v.

Nearly half a million Americans are currently living with this disorder in one form or another, with boys being affected 5 to 1. Many treatments are being used; including diet, behavioral therapy, medicine and vitamin supplements, and many children are living relatively normal lives even with the disordervi .

i http://www.psychiatry24x7.com/bgdisplay.jhtml?itemname=autism_about&source=google&gclid=CNbj9bPfsIgCFRMQZwod30Pt1Q

ii http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/autism.cfm

iii http://www.autism-pdd.net/what-is-autism.html#whatcausesautism

iv http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/autism.cfm

v http://www.fightingautism.org/idea/reports/US-Autism-Statistics-Prevalence-Incidence-Rates.pdf

vi http://www.autisminfo.com/QuickFacts.htm