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What is the latest research on autism?
Written by Kimberly Drake on April 16, 2021 — Fact checked by Alexandra Sanfins, Ph.D.
"Doctors have defined autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a neurobiological developmental condition that can impact communication, sensory processing, and social interactions. Although recent research has advanced the understanding of autism, there is much more to learn about the factors that influence this neurotype.
As of March 26, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that among 8-year-old children, one in 54 are autistic. This number has increased from the one in 59 prevalence reported in previous estimates.
With autism rates on the increase, the scientific community has become all the more interested in uncovering the factors linked with autism.
Some scientists speculate that gene variants cause autism, while others believe environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins, contribute to this neurotype. Still others theorize imbalances in the intestinal microbiome may be at play.
The latest autism research includes investigations into factors associated with this neurotype, as well as genetic variants, gut biome imbalances, and neurological factors that may contribute to it."
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.
Autism spectrum disorder is a construct used to describe individuals with a specific combination of impairments in social communication and repetitive behaviours, highly restricted interests and/or sensory behaviours beginning early in life. The worldwide prevalence of autism is just under 1%, but estimates are higher in high-income countries. Although gross brain pathology is not characteristic of autism, subtle anatomical and functional differences have been observed in post-mortem, neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies. Initially, it was hoped that accurate measurement of behavioural phenotypes would lead to specific genetic subtypes, but genetic findings have mainly applied to heterogeneous groups that are not specific to autism. Psychosocial interventions in children can improve specific behaviours, such as joint attention, language and social engagement, that may affect further development and could reduce symptom severity. However, further research is necessary to identify the long-term needs of people with autism, and treatments and the mechanisms behind them that could result in improved independence and quality of life over time. Families are often the major source of support for people with autism throughout much of life and need to be considered, along with the perspectives of autistic individuals, in both research and practice.
This is an autism test for children made by PsyCom.com - we are not affiliated with PsyCom, but this is a good way to gauge whether or not you should seek an autism professional for your children so you can help them live their best lives.
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Autism is not a straightforward thing to deal with, for both parties. To help children with autism properly, you must learn their language. Imagine how you would feel not being able to talk and express emotions verbally, and people always get your needs wrong. Would you feel sad? Would you feel angry? Would you throw things? Would you hit people? What would you do?
This is the reality of autism.
They are by no means, stupid. In fact, people with ASD are actually some of the smartest people I've met. Not everyone with ASD is non-verbal. Keep that in mind. Do not use the word retarded. That's never okay. Use the terms developmental disabilities and/or intellectual disabilities when referring to any child or children with ASD. This can be your own kids or kids you take care of as a CNA, MHRT, DSP, youth and family counselor, or a nurse.
Creating a sensory room for your kids with ASD is one of the absolute best ways you can support them and their development. It is a game changer if you don't have one. Do you want one already? Please check out the side tab on the right to learn more. We will also create a Pinterest board on the subject and link it in the side tab once available.
Sensory stimulation is a great way to soothe children with autism. This means items like weighted blankets, nature sound makers, sand tables, playdoh, beanbags, comfy places to lay on like a giant LoveSac, lighting with a dimmer switch, projectors, nightlights, toys with cool textures, squishy toys, moon sand, cool lights, sound-isolation headphones with music on or off, lava lamps, etc. Get creative! Make it awesome! Look up how to set up a sensory room. A sensory room is where they can go to relax, a room that is quiet and away from other people for when they're feeling neurologically overstimulated or understimulated. You can call it a room of wonders instead of sensory room so it doesn't sound like a punishment, or just call it a sensory room.
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