Autism and Asperger Syndrome are disorders which cause the world to be a place of confusion and chaos, where there are no distinct limitations, order or significance. Although scientists are unable to determine the exact cause of autism and Asperger syndrome, the symptoms can vary greatly from one person to another. Those with mild forms can and do function in general society normally, whereas other cases are so severe that that are unable to take care of themselves or play an active role in society.
Although it does vary from person to person, generally those who suffer from autism are more disabled than those with Asperger syndrome. Due to the symptoms, both are labelled autistic spectrum disorders which over 580,000 people have in the United Kingdom.
Symptoms of autism
Social communication – those with both autism and Asperger syndrome will generally have difficulties with social communication. This could include talking about topics which are not suitable socially; finding communicating with others difficult; or even not being able to socialise at all. Sometimes it appears that those with autism are unresponsive in developing a friendship and communicating with others, whereas those with Asperger syndrome find communicating extremely hard to do but want to build up a friendship.
Troubles with oral and non-oral interaction – Those who suffer from these conditions, in particularly autism, may find speaking hard or even impossible. Non-oral communication, such as hand gestures, facial expressions, body language and even the voice tones could be too difficult to understand, thus making communication with others tricky. People may also find that those who have autistic spectrum disorders unable to sympathize with other people’s feelings and thus appear to be thoughtless or even offensive. Misunderstandings of jokes, metaphors or colloquialisms are often common.
Short of of imagination and inventive play – Those who suffer from autism and Asperger Syndrome generally do not partake in role playing games or do not enjoy them. Abstract ideas may also be difficult to understand. Fixations with particular objects, interests and regular schedules can also lead to interference when attempting to build a social relationship. This is called repetitive or stereotyped behaviour.
Babies do not often show symptoms of having either autism or Asperger Syndrome; it is only when they grow into toddlers and are expected to reach their developmental milestones that symptoms of these autistic spectrum disorders come to light. Early speech is one of the important milestones for babies but their speech may be missing as they are unsuccessful in creating ordinary social manners.
There are a number of general difficulties those with autism and Asperger Syndrome develop as they grow up. These include:
Repetitive behaviour and a resistance to changes in their everyday schedule
A fixation with particular objects or a routine
Reduced imaginative play
Problems with fine motor skills (particularly with those who have Asperger syndrome)
Lack of common facial expressions and body language
Reduced eye contact
An inclination of spending time alone or having very few friends
Those with Asperger Syndrome generally suffer from milder symptoms than those with suffer with autism. Indeed, those with mild symptoms can go their whole lives without ever being diagnosed. As such, there have been debates that Asperger syndrome is a mere variant of ‘normal’ instead of being a medical disorder. However, many of those who suffer from Asperger Syndrome experience difficulties when dealing with the world and understand that they are different from other people. From this, they can become isolated, perplexed, depressed, which can be classed as a disease.
There are children with Asperger syndrome who manage to get through, or excel in, school providing that the required support is there. Despite the academic results, they can still experience difficulties in socialising with other children and most are likely to be bullied or teased. Those children who have a more severe case of Asperger syndrome will require the professional care which can be offered by specially run schools for children with learning disabilities.
Children with Asperger syndrome can grow up to experience regular lives providing they are given the correct support and lots of encouragement. In helping them understand more about their condition will allow them to adjust, deal and hopefully cope with the outside world.
The symptoms with autism are generally more severe than those with Asperger syndrome. For example, normal speech may not be developed in a child who has autism whereas a child with Asperger syndrome is likely to develop normal speech. In addition to this, up to 75% of those who have autism have learning disabilities. 15 to 30% of those with autism will suffer from seizures. However, many children with autism are discovered to have an extraordinary ability, for example, being able to play a musical instrument, drawing or mathematics.
What is the cause of autism?
Scientists are uncertain to the cause of autism and Asperger syndrome. Currently, it is believed that genetics are the leading factor and there are several chromosomes which could be implicated. Some researchers believe that with certain genes act together in a certain way, perhaps due to an external occurrence or aspect, autism will occur. Although boys suffer from autism more than girls, girls are more likely to develop severe symptoms.
In recent years, doctors have been able to diagnose autism and Asperger syndrome in children. However, many of the older generation who suffer from mild symptoms have gone their whole lives without ever being diagnosed or treated. Sometimes it is only when a child is diagnosed with the condition that the parents realise that they have the same.
In recent years, a possible link between the MMR vaccination and autism and Asperger syndrome has been reported; however, there is no scientific evidence that proves that the MMR vaccination increases the risk of autistic spectrum disorders.
Doctors cannot diagnose an autistic spectrum disorder with a blood test; instead, a consideration of all the symptoms a patient has confirms a diagnosis. Sometimes mild cases of autistic spectrum disorders are overlooked.
Treatment for autism
At this point, there is no cure or treatment for autism. However, there are many things which can be implemented in order to increase a child’s potential, thus giving them a better standard of life. The correct specialist education, as well as speech, language and behavioural therapy will help make the most of a child’s capability.
There are many different types of therapy approaches available, each focusing on particular areas. In addition to this, there are other interventions centred on theories about how autistic spectrum disorders are caused. These include utilising foods, supplements and supplements which may affect the various parts of the body. It should be noted, however, that there are no scientific evidence to back up the benefits to the results people have achieved with these.
It is uncertain as to how autistic spectrum disorders are caused and because of such at this point it is unable to prevent them. Nor is there a simple test to identify those people who carry the genes which may increase the likelihood of producing a child with autistic spectrum disorders.