There Is No Single Known Cause Of Autism Science Suggests That There Are Likely Several Causes With Strong Links To Developmental And Genetic Factors
Although researchers have identified a number of genes associated with Autism, there is current consensus that no one genetic difference is shared by all people on the Autism Spectrum.; Researchers continue to explore causal factors, including other biological and environmental influences, in order to advance our understanding of Autism.;
Intensive research over the past 70 years has led to an understanding that Autism is not merely one condition with one cause. Rather it is a collective term for a range of shared characteristics which combine and interact in a way that is unique to each person, highlighting the importance of individualised supports and services.
New Research On Autism And Our Environment
Sex hormones, medications, certain metals such as lead, pesticides, and chemicals used to make plastic hard or pliable have long been suspected of having a role in autism.; They have not been proven to cause autism, but these are known to trigger or worsen other health problems, including some that affect the brain.; Many studies have shown that chemical exposures during development in the womb can have much more serious health effects than the same exposures would in adults.
A large 2014 study investigated the connection between autism and genital malformations using health insurance claims from almost a third of the U.S. population. Like autism, genital malformations are increasing: cases of undescended testicle increased 200% between 1970 and 1993, and the percentage of boys born with a deformity of the penis known as hypospadia doubled. ;;Many studies have shown that these malformations are more common among children whose mothers have high levels of chemicals that affect the hormones in their bodies, such as phthalates which are found in cleaning products, medicines, and personal care products like shampoos and creams The link between these chemicals and genital malformations has surfaced in other studies, particularly those involving women in professions that require working daily with these chemicals.
Do Symptoms Of Autism Change Over Time
For many children, symptoms improve with age and behavioral treatment. During adolescence, some children with ASD may become depressed or experience behavioral problems, and their treatment may need some modification as they transition to adulthood. People with ASD usually continue to need services and supports as they get older, but depending on severity of the disorder, people with ASD may be able to work successfully and live independently or within a supportive environment.
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Are Vaccines One Of The Causes For Autism
Many of us think that vaccines are also responsible for the development of autism. This has been a controversy being debated over the years. The truth is, there is not a proven link between autism and childhood vaccines.
Scientists spent at least two decades conducting extensive research about the matter and proved that autism is not associated with vaccines.
Do More Children Have Autism Today
Recently, it seems that the rate of autism in children has increased. There are several possible reasons for this phenomenon. One thing we need to consider is the improvement of diagnostic testing for autism.
Experts are also getting better at identifying autism in under-reported populations. For instance, rates of ASD in white children have historically appeared higher than those among Black or Hispanic children. This didnât make sense to health experts until they realized that residents with higher socioeconomic statuses were more likely to have access to the high-quality healthcare resources needed to diagnose their children. In a recent report by the CDC, the diagnostic gap between these different groups had significantly shrunk.
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The Types Of A Sensory Processing Disorder In Three Categories:
1. Sensory Modulation.
Sensory modulation means how we organize sensory information.; Three common patterns are hyposensitive, hypersensitive, and sensory seeking.; They all fall under this sub-type.
There are also sensory disorders in movement or sensory-motor disorders.; A sensory-motor disorder means difficulties in posture and movement.; Sometimes words like dyspraxia or development coordination disorder are also used to describe those sensory-motor or movement disorders.; Posture means how you sit, stand, or move against gravity.; A sensory-motor disorder means difficulties in movement or moving.; Your child might appear clumsy or have difficulty with coordination if they have a sensory-motor disorder.
3. Sensory Discrimination.
There is another sub-type called sensory discrimination.; Sensory discrimination means telling the difference between variations in a single sense.; For example, some children have difficulty hearing the difference between the words bat and cat even when they do not have hearing loss.; Their brains simply cannot distinguish between the two words. That is an indication of a type of auditory sensory discrimination disorder.; With sensory discrimination disorder, there can be difficulty in perception in each of the senses.; It is helpful to know that wearing glasses, using a hearing aid or using a wheelchair are not signs of a sensory disorder.
What Else Raises The Risk
So, autism is highly genetic, but that doesnt mean environmental factors are unimportant, said Dr. Brian Lee, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute in Philadelphia. Height, for example, is influenced by environmental factors like malnutrition. You can have a genetic underlying factor that puts you at risk, but there may need to be some sort of an environmental condition or trigger, Lee said.
S.S.R.I.s are strong candidates for factors that could trigger autism. They act on the brain chemical serotonin, which is important for social function and is found at high levels in some autistic people, and many of them cross from a womans blood into the womb.
But Dr. Alan Brown, M.D., professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University, said that its difficult to separate the effects of a medication from a pregnant womans reason for taking them her underlying mental health condition. Several recent studies suggest that the autism risk associated with S.S.R.I. use is very small, perhaps nonexistent. The literature is confusing on S.S.R.I.s and autism, Brown said. Some studies show the association, others dont.
Researchers also have looked into prenatal exposure to toxins, such as pesticides or air pollution, and have come up with similarly inconclusive results. They have found no increased autism risk related to prenatal smoking, cesarean section, fertility treatments or vaccines.
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What About Sensory Processing Disorder In Adults
Adults have sensory processing disorders too.; Most often, these sensory symptoms have existed since childhood.; Sometimes a sensory disorder is better managed in adulthood because adults have greater autonomy over their daily life and can choose to live their life in a way that avoids some sensory challenges. Nevertheless, adults can seek treatment too.
How Common Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Based on most recent CDC report, ASD is estimated to affect about 1 in 54 children, with boys being more likely to have ASD than girls. There were more than 5 million adults in the US, or 2.21% of the population, with ASD as of 2017. Government statistics suggest that the prevalence of ASD has risen 10% to 17% in recent years.
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How Autism Disorder Is Tested And Diagnosed
Identifying ASD in children can be screened at an early age of 18 to 24 months. This determines if the childs development is normal or unusual.
Diagnosing a childs autism spectrum disorder is done in 3 basic screening methods listed below. This serves as an initial step on understanding the childs development and behaviour.
1. Developmental Screening
This involves a checklist and a series of questions that the parent will answer and fill out. The response to these will be used by doctors and paediatricians to identify if the child has a risk of ASD.
2. DNA Testing
A child undergoes a DNA test if he or she is positive for diseases that may influence autism.
3. Behavioural Evaluation
Audio and visual tests are used to diagnose a childs ability to visualise and hear certain objects. If vision and hearing are not good, a child may be at risk of autism.
Genetic Causes And Modifiers Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Department of Physiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, United States
Autism Spectrum Disorder is one of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental disorders, affecting an estimated 1 in 59 children. ASD is highly genetically heterogeneous and may be caused by both inheritable and de novo gene variations. In the past decade, hundreds of genes have been identified that contribute to the serious deficits in communication, social cognition, and behavior that patients often experience. However, these only account for 1020% of ASD cases, and patients with similar pathogenic variants may be diagnosed on very different levels of the spectrum. In this review, we will describe the genetic landscape of ASD and discuss how genetic modifiers such as copy number variation, single nucleotide polymorphisms, and epigenetic alterations likely play a key role in modulating the phenotypic spectrum of ASD patients. We also consider how genetic modifiers can alter convergent signaling pathways and lead to impaired neural circuitry formation. Lastly, we review sex-linked modifiers and clinical implications. Further understanding of these mechanisms is crucial for both comprehending ASD and for developing novel therapies.
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Final Thoughts On Sensory Processing Disorder And Autism
A child with autism spectrum disorder may have sensory processing issues, however a child with sensory processing disorder does not have autism.
- If a parent believes their child has any issues regarding a developmental delay, they should contact their pediatrician for an evaluation
- If a child shows any signs of a low tolerance to any sensory stimuli; has an excessive need for stimulation, such as needing to mouth certain objects; or is showing any coordination issues or bumping into walls or objects, the pediatrician should be made aware
- With regard to any child who has already been diagnosed with autism and has sensory issues or is found to have sensory processing disorder, a parent should do their research to provide the best help possible for their little one. Talk to the pediatrician and other trusted professionals for recommendations, and search the internet for websites and groups for more information and guidance
The earlier a child with autism and/or sensory processing disorder receives early intervention and help, the better.
What Causes Sensory Processing Disorder
Doctors dont know what causes SPD. Theyre exploring a genetic link, which means it could run in families. Some doctors believe there could be a link between autism and SPD. This could mean that adults who have autism could be more likely to have children who have SPD. But its important to note that most people who have SPD dont have autism.
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What Doesn’t Cause Autism
There was a bleak period in history from the 1950s to 1970s when autism was believed to be a psychological disorder, and blamed on cold, uncaring parents, usually the mothers.
Fortunately, the myth of the refrigerator mother has been debunked by science, and autism is now recognised as a disorder of brain development with genetic links. Nothing you said or did as a parent caused your child to develop autism, so please dont listen to anyone who suggests otherwise.
Scores of scientific studies have effectively ruled out vaccines as a cause of autism. Concerns originally arose around two issues of Mercury and the MMR Vaccine
In 2014, a meta-analysis, combining the result of 10 studies and over 1.2 million children, found no link between vaccines and autism. The World Health Organization, the European Medicines Agency, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading international health groups have also concluded theres no link. Unfortunately, the belief persists among anti-vaccination campaigners, who are very vocal on the Internet. If you remain concerned about vaccines, arrange a time to talk your paediatrician or GP. Remember, Vaccines Save Lives!
How Do I Help A Child Or Adult With A Sensory Processing Disorder
A common treatment for a sensory processing disorder is occupational therapy.; An occupational therapist will fully assess you or your child and develop a treatment plan.; The occupational therapist needs to figure out what sub-type of a sensory disorder is present.; Many occupational therapists use a special treatment called sensory integration to help assist a client. Sensory integration involves both sensory and motor activities designed by the occupational therapist. The repetition and practice over time improves the brains ability to receive, understand and respond to information from the senses is more organized.
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Sensory Health & Wellness
Sensory processing is the neurology of how we feel. The sensory messages we receive from our bodies and the world around us are responded to in everything we do in life whether its the comfort we feel from a warm hug from a loved one, the joy from the music we listen to, the feeling of satiation after eating, the ability to stay upright on moving bus or the act of learning / mastering a sport. In each instance, our sensory systems contribute vital information that we use to be successful. We couldnt do these things without our sensory systems.;
Our ability to process sensory data does not usually require conscious thought or cognitive effort. It provides emotional stability, a platform for social interaction, a sense of self, well-being, satisfaction, and/or accomplishment. Sensory processing can also influence every area of living including our preferences in diet, exercise, relationships, career, and hobbies.;
The sensory domain is where the brain and body connect and thrive. It is through robust sensory processing that we develop resilience, and establish a tolerance for stressful situations, learn to be calm under pressure, and process experiences that are challenging or upsetting. With well-integrated sensory processing comes a wealth of daily sensory-affective and sensory-motor experiences that cultivates the development of autonomy, competence, interest in learning, goal orientation, sense of purpose, resilience, social engagement, and agency.;
Restricted Or Repetitive Patterns Of Behavior Or Activities
These can include:
- an increase or decrease in sensitivity to specific sensory information from their surroundings, such as a negative reaction to a specific sound
- fixated interests or preoccupations
Autistic people are evaluated within each category, and the intensity of their symptoms is noted.
To receive an autism diagnosis, a person must display all three symptoms in the first category and at least two symptoms in the second category. Get more information on symptoms and how they may manifest in kids.
The exact cause of ASD is unknown. The most current research demonstrates theres no single cause.
Some suspected risk factors for ASD include:
- having an immediate family member whos autistic
- genetic mutations
An ASD diagnosis involves several screenings, genetic tests, and evaluations.
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Causes For Autism What Are The Latest Findings
Causes for Autism are often elusive and still require much investigation. Autism Spectrum Disorder has been affecting the lives of 1 in every 68 children in the United States. In the UK, 700,000 people are known to be on the autism spectrum. If you include their families thats 2.8 million people affected by the disorder.
This type of neuro-developmental disorder causes people to have difficulties with communication and social interaction. People who are diagnosed with ASD typically shows a repetitive, restricted, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour and actions.
Regardless of economic status, race and culture, this is an alarming issue as the number of cases is on the rise. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that autism happens more in boys than girls, with a ratio of 4:1.
Families around the world and many in the scientific community continue to search for the causes for autism, to try to figure out if it is preventable and work out the best treatments.
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
ASD is most often a life-long condition. Both children and adults with autism benefit from behavioral interventions or therapies that can teach new skills to address the core deficits of autism and to reduce the core symptoms. Every child and adult with autism is unique. For this reason, the treatment plan is individualized to meet specific needs. It is best to begin interventions as soon as possible, so the benefits of therapy can continue on throughout the course of life.
Many people with ASD often have additional medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal and feeding issues, seizures and sleep disturbances. Treatment can involve behavioral therapy, medications or both.
Early intensive behavioral treatments involves the entire family and possibly a team of professionals. As your child ages and develops, treatment may be modified to cater to their specific needs.
During adolescence, children benefit from transition services that promote skills of independence essential in adulthood. The focus at that point is on employment opportunities and job skill training.
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What Autistic People Have To Say
Through our Stories from the Spectrum series, weve spoken to several autistic people, who have shared their thoughts on this topic, what being autistic is like for them, and some of the positive aspects of being autistic.
“I just seem to see and think about people and the world in a different way. It’s part of who I am.” John Clark
John Clark, autistic filmmaker, told us:“I just seem to see and think about people and the world in a different way. For instance, I am both confused and fascinated by idioms. Its part of who I am. I used to be very self-conscious about people liking and accepting me, but now, I just think, take me or leave me. Were all different. Some people seem to find live and let live a difficult mantra to grasp though.”
Patrick Samuel, autistic artist and musician, said: “My autism;makes it easy for me to do things a lot of non-autistic people may struggle with. I work intensely when Im painting, writing, composing or doing anything creative. I think being autistic also contributes to my aptitude in problem solving and pattern recognition, which can help me research a highly specialised subject and give talks on it.”