Autism News

"Autism" is a blanket term that describes a number of related conditions that all involve impaired brain development. The more formal term that encompasses all the conditions of autism is “autism spectrum disorders.”

Several different conditions are considered autism spectrum disorders, but they share some common features. They're characterized by difficulty communicating and interacting with others socially, as well as patterns of behavior that are very repetitive and often impaired, compared with what is usually seen in an age group. Autism tends to emerge in children between 2 and 3 years of age, and boys are more likely than girls to develop it.

Types of Autism

The most severe form of autism is often simply called autism, or classical ASD. These children will show the greatest number of symptoms or the most severe manifestations of certain symptoms. At an early age, children with autism may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on an object for long periods of time. This may start early in infancy, or children may gradually become more unresponsive as they grow older. Other symptoms include delayed communication, being unresponsive to others and destructive behaviors like biting or banging the head against things.

Milder forms of autism have similar characteristics, but only a few symptoms may appear or the symptoms might not be as extreme. These conditions include pervasive developmental disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and Asperger syndrome, among others. Autism may also be related to other childhood health conditions such as ADHD, fragile X syndrome, Tourette syndrome and epilepsy.

Treatment of Autism

Though some with autism have severe disabilities, others can learn to use their abilities and be highly functional adults, even with the disorder. Many people with autism have above-average intelligence and unique abilities when it comes to things like music and academics.

Part of the process of helping those with autism is through therapy related to their educational and behavior challenges. Applied behavioral analysis is one type of therapy that is commonly used. In these sessions, children with autism are taught how to learn, speak and interact socially with others. In many cases, medication may also be part of the treatment to help with conditions related to the autism spectrum disorder.

SOURCES:; U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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Article Title
Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Percentage of children with autism spectrum disorder currently stable, according to new study.

Surviving Congenital Heart Disease as Child Not a Ticket to Good Health

Many of these children can also suffer from illnesses such as autism and respiratory conditions, study says

Prenatal Multivitamins Linked to Lower Autism Risk

But researchers can't prove a cause-and-effect connection

Researchers Learn More About Gender's Role in Autism Risk

When oldest female child has the disorder, risk is raised for younger siblings, especially boys: study

Genetics a Cause of Autism in Most Cases: Study

Re-analysis of stats from earlier study shows new estimate of DNA impact

Could Folic Acid Fight a Cause of Autism?

Prenatal supplements may help reduce harms of pesticide exposure, study suggests

Back to School, Back to Planning for Kids With Autism, ADHD

Thinking ahead and keeping a calendar with important dates can help make transition smoother

Does Autism Risk Reside in Cells' Energy Engines?

Study suggests genetic variations in the DNA of mitochondria may up risk for developmental disorder

Therapy for Kids With Autism Pays Off for Moms, Dads

Study found when parents become therapy partners, they become less depressed, learn to keep emotions in check

Can Scans Predict Some Autism Cases?

When the disorder is caused by a certain genetic defect, MRI may spot brain abnormalities, researchers say

Antidepressants in Pregnancy Tied to Slight Increase in Autism

But difference in risk is quite small, experts say

Genes May Explain Why Kids With Autism Avoid Eye Contact

More research could shed light on how these genetic pathways work

Can a Spritz of 'Love Hormone' Help Kids With Autism?

Researchers seek to boost social abilities in small study

Why People With Autism Avoid Eye Contact

Direct gaze stresses part of the brain tied to social behavior; the study finding might improve therapies

When is Tourette Syndrome Actually Autism?

Repetitive behaviors, restricted interests occur in both disorders, make correct diagnosis tricky, researchers report

Do Older Dads Produce Brainy Boys?

Study finds their sons score high in intelligence and focus

Study Cites Top Reasons Young Autism Patients Are Hospitalized

Mood disorders, sleep problems and having a single caregiver raise odds of in-patient psychiatric care

Fever During Pregnancy Tied to Autism in Study

But absolute risk is low, researcher says

Special Brain Scans May Predict Autism in High-Risk Babies

In small study, technique identified 82 percent of infants later diagnosed with the disorder

Baby Teeth Study Points to Links Between Autism, Lead Levels

Lead exposure raised risk, while too little zinc, manganese did the same

Communication Problems Not at Root of Tantrums in Kids With Autism

Study shows outbursts occur just as frequently among children without speech, language troubles

Could a Century-Old Drug Help Ease Autism Symptoms?

Small study produced positive results with the sleeping sickness medication suramin, but more research needed

Autism's 'Worryingly' High Suicide Rates Spur Conference

Signs of depression may differ from those seen in general population, researcher says

Special Diets, Supplements for Autism Still a Question Mark

Analysis of 19 trials turned up little proof they actually work; more definitive research needed

Are All Those 'Fidget Spinners' Really Helping Kids?

Hot toy is probably more of a distraction than a help in the classroom, experts say

Treat Autism Even Before Symptoms Show?

Small study found 'at-risk' babies did better if therapists trained parents to communicate more effectively

Program Helps Young Adults With Autism Find Jobs

Navigating adult services is challenging, autism experts say

Early Intervention for ASD

Early intervention helps infants at high risk of autism spectrum disorder, study finds.

Tracking Devices May Ease Minds of Parents of Kids With Autism

Wandering is a hazard for these children, and this technology helps, review finds

Could Smoking in Pregnancy Affect a Grandkid's Autism Risk?

Study shows a generations-long link, but research can't prove cause-and-effect

Young Adults With Autism Need Help Managing Money: Study

Many feel unprepared to handle responsibilities such as paying bills on their own

Antidepressants and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Two new studies find no link between use of antidepressants during pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder.

Studies Question Link Between Mom's Antidepressant Use, Autism in Kids

After accounting for other factors that raise chances of the disorder, the increased risk disappeared

FDA Warns Against Bogus Autism 'Cures'

Unproven therapies won't help and could be harmful, agency says

1 in 3 Teens With Autism Licensed to Drive, Study Finds

Pediatricians suggest discussing adolescent's capabilities with doctor first

'Video Feedback' Program Might Help Treat Autism in Babies

Therapists help parents learn and better react to their infants' communication style

Muppet With Autism Makes Her 'Sesame Street' Debut

4-year-old 'Julia' joins cast to help young viewers understand the disorder

Parents of Kids With Autism May Sacrifice 'Couples Time'

They report less closeness, fewer positive interactions, but no increase in negative behaviors toward one another

Teens With Autism More Likely to Land in ER, Study Finds

Puberty and transition to adulthood may be especially challenging times, researcher says

Autism Greatly Boosts Kids' Injury Risk, Especially for Drowning

Swimming lessons are essential -- even before other therapies, researcher says

Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder

Researchers say they've developed a highly accurate method to diagnose autism spectrum disorder.

Could a Blood Test Spot Autism in Childhood?

Preliminary study was reportedly nearly 98 percent accurate in kids ages 3 to 10

Predicting Autism Risk

Brain measurements taken in a baby's first year may help predict autism risk, new study finds.

Experimental Test Can Spot Autism in Infancy

Researchers report brain scans plus computer algorithm show which high-risk babies might develop the disorder

Low-Income Kids More Likely to Have ADHD, Asthma

Autism more often diagnosed among children in higher-income families, study finds

Brain Differences Hint at Why Autism Is More Common in Males

Women with the disorder appear more likely to have brain anatomy that's typically seen in men, study says

U.S. Legislation Boosted Access to Autism Services, With No Added Cost to Families

Findings show 2008 federal 'parity' law is having desired effect, researchers say

Obstetric Complications Tied to Slightly Upped Risk for Autism

Study suggests link, but one expert stressed that most complicated pregnancies result in babies without autism