Affecting three crucial areas of development: communication, social interaction, and creative or imaginative play, Autism is a brain disorder that begins in early childhood and persists throughout adulthood. The specific cause or origin of autism is not known, however, many researchers suspect that autism results from genetically mediated vulnerabilities to environmental triggers.
Some professionals estimate that 1 out of every 166 children in America are affected by autism on one level or another. The national health institute has a more conservative number of 1 in every 1000; either way autism is prevalent! A family that has born one autistic child has odds of 1 in 20 of another, which leads to hereditary assumptions.
There is a set list of psychiatric criteria and a series of standardized clinical tests that are used to diagnose autism. Although not always physiologically obvious, a complete physical and neurological evaluation will typically be able to determine whether an individual is affected by autism.
The clinical definition defines that 'autism must manifest delays in "social interaction, language as used in social communication, or symbolic or imaginative play," with "onset prior to age 3 years", according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders'. The symptoms of autism must manifest before the age of three years to be clinically recognized; this is stated in the ICD-10, which is a set of criteria for the proper diagnosis.
It is possible for children affected by autism to improve their social skills to a level where they can be fully integrated with mainstream events without any notice. Often times the case is that individuals affected by autism are unwilling to want to cure their condition because they see it as a part of who they are, and do not want to lose that.
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