Explained | How do you screen for autism and assess its severity?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | How do you screen for autism and assess its severity?” published in The Hindu on 28th March 2023.

What is the News?

This article talks about Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD).

What is Autism?

Autism – also referred to as autism spectrum disorder constitutes a diverse group of conditions related to the development of the brain.

Symptoms: The disorder is characterized by some degree of difficulty with social interaction and communication. 

– Other characteristics are atypical patterns of activities and behaviors, such as difficulty with the transition from one activity to another, a focus on details and unusual reactions to sensations.

Onset of Autism: ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life.

Read more: Indian researchers develop better therapeutics to treat Autism Spectrum Disorder

Causes: Autism spectrum disorder has no single known cause. Given the complexity of the disorder and the fact that symptoms and severity vary, there are probably many causes. Both genetics and environment may play a role.

– Genetics. Several different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. For some children, autism spectrum disorder can be associated with a genetic disorder, such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome. For other children, genetic changes (mutations) may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder. 

– Environmental factors: Researchers are currently exploring whether factors such as viral infections, medications or complications during pregnancy, or air pollutants play a role in triggering autism spectrum disorder.

Cases: It is estimated that worldwide about one in 100 children have autism.

Treatment: There is no cure for autism spectrum disorder. But early diagnosis and intervention are critical to improving outcomes for children with Autism and their families.

Read more: We need to talk about autism
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