Autism has always been a puzzling condition. Not quite a century ago, those with autism were considered insane and sent to an asylum. Now, we recognize that those with the condition are not insane, but there are still mysteries about the condition that researchers haven’t figured out.
One of the greatest mysteries regarding the condition is the lack of a cure. Though there have been studies, clinical trials, and other experiments performed in pursuit of treatment, doctors seem to hit wall after wall.
As researchers continue to pursue treatments and preventing autism in the future, here are a few things that everyone should know.
1. One in 68 children have been diagnosed with some form of autism.
Though autism went largely undiagnosed in the past, it is now a common verdict. It’s important to note that this statistics reflects the numbers of both those who are severely autistic and those who only exhibit a few symptoms. Some argue that the condition has become over diagnosed in the last few years, and that the number of people truly considered autistic is more like one in 150.
2. Vaccines don’t cause autism.
There was a single study published and widely publicized in the nineties that argued a correlation between having your children vaccinated and them developing autism. However, this study has since been disproved. The lead researcher fabricated the results, and no study has found a link between the two.
3. There are different degrees of the condition.
Autistic disorder is what most people think of when it comes to autism. This includes problems with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and imagination. Many are completely unable to communicate, and they need help with even the smallest tasks.
Asperger’s syndrome is another form of autism that covers those who are high functioning in the speech and intelligence area of the spectrum, but who still struggle with social interactions and attention spans.
Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) is the catch-all term used to describe children with autistic tendencies who don’t fall into either of the above categories. It is also referred to as atypical autistic. Most people in this category are high functioning in motor skills and intelligence, but struggle with other cognitive areas, like social interaction and emotion control.
It’s important to make these distinctions because not every autistic person you meet will exhibit the same symptoms.
4. Boys are more likely to develop autism than girls.
Though there’s no scientific explanation for this phenomenon, on average, boys are five times more likely to develop autism than girls. One theory says that girls naturally have a higher intolerance for genetic mutations than males.
5. No two people with autism will act or speak the same way.
This is even true for twins. Though they may have the same diagnosis, each autistic person has their own personality and cognitive symptoms that set them apart from others.
6. It may run in families, but it’s not always genetic.
Families with an autistic child are far more likely to have other children born with the condition. The reasoning is not clear, but it has something to do with genetic mutations in the family tree that can carry from generation to generation.
However, not all children are born autistic, which removes the risk for multiple children identifying as autistic. Some environmental factors, such as an infection or a high fever that affects the brain, can lead children to develop autistic tendencies.
7. Autism is often paired with other mental and emotional disorders, such as epilepsy and sensory disorder.
Oftentimes, those with autism are plagued by other cognitive disorders that affect their ability to live normally. Many experience seizures, for example. Other individuals have a difficult time coping with light, color, and sound. The condition has a tendency to make other illnesses worse.
8. Technology helps many autistic people communicate.
Approximately one third of autistic individuals are nonverbal. They’re unable to speak, and many are unable to communicate with gestures or body language.
Technology has played a major role here. Many autistic children learn to communicate using assistive devices like tablets and electronic communicators. Technology is helping those with this cognitive disorder come one step closer to living a partially normal life.