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Autism Spectrum Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Medically reviewed by Rubilyn Saldana-Santiago, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Jul 26, 2022

    Autism Spectrum Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

    Autism, or what is now known to be the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad group of disorders pertaining to developmental disabilities. Challenges with social skills, repeated behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication are all present in this type of condition. For years, researchers and experts have explored possible autism causes.

    Autism Causes: Understanding the Root of this Developmental Disorder

    Autism spectrum disorder umbrellas several illnesses like autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and childhood disintegrative disorder.

    Genetic and environmental factors do play great influences in the distinct set of strengths and challenges every kid is facing today. Such autism causes may contribute to how a child needs a great deal of assistance in their everyday lives. But, there are also those who can live independently with less assistance. 

    Some autism symptoms commonly occur between the ages of two and three while other developmental impairments can show up much earlier. Experts say that those who are diagnosed with autism causes early on in life may receive regular interventions that may result in better outcomes later in life.

    How Does Autism Look Like in Children?

    A child may be diagnosed with the said condition if autism causes the following signs or symptoms:

    Social communication and interaction behaviors

  • Occasional or no eye contact at all
  • Failure to respond when called by their name
  • Lack of facial expression
  • Speech and language delays
  • Failure to start or continue a conversion (may only talk because of a request)
  • Resistance in interaction and connection with other kids (or would rather be alone)
  • Difficulty in recognizing non-verbal cues (such as people’s facial expression, body postures, or even tone of voice)
  • Unable to express emotions and feelings
  • Unawareness of other people’s thoughts and feelings
  • Unusual tone of voice when speaking
  • Furthermore, they may also approach different social interactions passively, aggressively, or disruptively. 

    Patterns of behavior

    • Echolalia (repetition of words and phrases)
    • Repetition of movements (rocking, spinning, or hand flapping)
    • Annoyance because of the smallest changes in his/her routine
    • Unintentional self-harm activities (biting, head-banging)
    • Coordination problems and odd movement patterns (clumsiness in walking or exaggerated body movements)
    • Inability to focus on different things
    • Particular on food preferences
    • Peculiar interest in such details, numbers, and facts
    • Uninterested in sharing details and objects with others
    • High sensitivity to light, noise, clothing, or temperature

    Some children with autism spectrum conditions become more engaged with others and have fewer behavioral difficulties as they grow older. Some people, usually those with the least severe challenges, may be able to have regular or near-normal lives in the future. On the other hand, others may continue to struggle with language and social abilities, and the teen years can intensify behavioral and emotional issues.

    How Can Autism Be Treated?

    Unfortunately, there is still no known treatment or medication to cure autism. However, there are several ways in which different interventions may help a child recover and improve in terms of social interaction and development. 


    A doctor may treat some of the symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder with prescribed medicines. Such medications can help lessen the problems with:  

    • Repetitive behavior
    • Attention problems
    • Irritability
    • Aggression
    • Hyperactivity
    • Anxiety and depression

    Behavioral, psychological, and educational therapy

    Doctors who specialize in behavioral, psychological, educational, or skill-building therapies may be referred to children with an autism spectrum disorder. Parents, siblings, and other family members may take part in these programs.

    • Social skills training
    • Speech and language therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Parent management training
    • Special education services

    Parents, in collaboration with doctors, also try to manage the child’s condition have also tried to incorporate complementary and alternative interventions that involve special diets and supplements as well. 

    Key Takeaways

    Autism causes a child to behave differently from the rest of the crowd, but it should not make him/her the less of the person he/she is. 

    As a parent, it is important to learn and understand more about autism spectrum disorder in order to support your child well. 

    Providing him/her with a routine or structure to follow through on a daily basis can help you build a connection with them. You may also seek a medical professional’s help if there are concerns you wish to be addressed. 

    Learn more about Child Health here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Rubilyn Saldana-Santiago, MD


    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Jul 26, 2022

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