Autism: Causes, Signs, and Management

Autism: Causes, Signs, and Management
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  • 0:32 What Is Autism?
  • 1:10 Why Does Autism Occur?
  • 2:01 Clinical Signs,…
  • 3:06 Treatment of Autism
  • 4:06 The Controversy…
  • 5:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
In this lesson, we'll go over a well-known neurodevelopmental condition called autism, its symptoms, and possible treatments. We'll also discuss a huge controversy that erupted regarding autism and its link to vaccines and whether that link is valid or not.

A Controversial Condition

One of the worst things that can happen to a parent is to have their child diagnosed with a very serious condition. Some things are worse than others. For example, a bacterial disease may be cured with something like antibiotics. However, other problems have a heavy dose of genetics involved, meaning there can be no cure and the disorder is for life. This lesson will point out one such well-known and controversial condition.

What Is Autism?

I'm talking about autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes a child to develop repetitive behaviors and affects an individual's ability to communicate and interact with other people. This condition affects boys four times more often than girls and seems to be on the rise. However, we cannot be sure if the rise in autism is related to increasing potential risk factors, such as the age of the parents of a child, or is simply down to better monitoring for and recording of this disorder.

Why Does Autism Occur?

No one knows why autism develops. Genetic factors and environmental ones play a role, but exactly how is very unclear. The reason people suspect genetic factors to play a role is because studies of identical twins showed that if one has the condition, there's a 90% chance the other twin will have autism as well.

In general, scientists suspect that a number of things may occur, but not all of them may occur in every person with autism. For example, everything from irregular physical development of the brain to improper balances of neurotransmitters in the brain may play a role. What seems to be more certain is that these changes begin way before the child is born, during its development in the womb, and continues after birth as well.

Clinical Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnostics

Children affected with this condition have a wide variety of signs, some of which may begin as early as 6-18 months of age, which include:

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