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Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism is a lifelong, pervasive, developmental disability that is the result of a complex constellation of neurobiological factors not yet fully understood by the medical profession. It is often referred to as a spectrum disorder because the symptoms and characteristics of autism can range from mild to severe and manifest themselves in a wide variety of behaviors.
The spectrum of autism includes those are:

  • Non-verbal with very low IQs to those who are extremely verbal with very high IQs
  • Advanced musical, mathematical or artistic abilities
  • Engage in some form of repetitive behaviors or unique fixations
  • Encounter difficulties in social-emotional reciprocity, problems in nonverbal communicative behaviors, challenges in developing, maintaining and understanding relationships.

Researchers suggest that there may be 1% of the world population has autistic spectrum disorder and many will also have a learning disability. Different subgroups within the spectrum have been described, for example:

  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • High functioning autism
  • Classical autism
  • Kanner’s syndrome

There are no specific treatments for the main symptoms of ADS, although there are strategies to help reduce the difficulties linked with symptoms. These aim to improve quality of life for individuals with ASD and their families. Helpful strategies vary greatly between individuals, so it is important that a care plan is tailored to a person’s specific needs. Treatments can include behavioral, educational, and psychological components to improve social, learning and Communication skills, as well as emotional management.

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