Causes and Risk Factors
Who Is at Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
The term “Autism Spectrum Disorder” includes different, related conditions under this term.
Despite the extensive research still being done in the field, experts and medical professionals are still unsure about the exact cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, genetics and environmental factors play a role in the development of autism.
Some risk factors associated with an increased risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder are the following:
- When a child in the family has ASD, siblings are at greater risk.
- If an infant is born prematurely or born underweight.
- When a child has older parents.
- If a child has other existing medical conditions such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Autism Spectrum Disorder cannot be prevented because it is mainly brought about by genetics. However, complications from this condition, like difficulties in school or isolation, can be avoided by getting treatment and professional help as soon as possible.
Doctors may diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder in a child as early as two years old. Typically, your child’s pediatrician will monitor the changes in their weight, height, and other relevant developments during their first year. Any anomalies in your doctor’s check-ups together with first-hand observations will contribute to whether or not your child may need additional tests to confirm Autism Spectrum Disorder.
More in-depth tests for autism involve a comprehensive assessment of a child’s cognitive abilities, motor skills, daily activities, and etc.
Treatment options for Autism Spectrum Disorder include:
- Medication: Although there is no medication for Autism Spectrum Disorder, doctors may prescribe medication for children who suffer from hyperactivity or extreme behavioral problems.
- Therapies: Thankfully, a variety of therapies are available for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder-related symptoms. A child with autism who struggles with motor skills can get communication therapy, while a child who struggles with learning can get education therapy, where a specially structured program can help. Family members can also benefit from family therapies so that they become more receptive and accepting of the needs of their family member with autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that can affect the way a person thinks, acts, feels, or interacts with others. Despite the fact that autism is a chronic condition, early diagnosis and interventions can prevent this disease from significantly impacting a person’s quality of life.
Learn more about Behavioral and Developmental Disorders here.