INFORMATION HUB

Welcome to our Information Hub!

 

This Hub attempts to act as a central place where you can get information about Autism; from the basics on "What is Autism" (below) to links on support information. Just check out the sub-menus under the Information Hub.

This Hub will be constantly refreshed as new or useful information comes to light. If you have autism related information that you would like to share please send us an email to autismletterkenny@gmail.com

What is Autism?

Autism is one developmental disability that is part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). It is behavioral disorder with a number of symptoms that may range from mild to severe. No two children with autism may have exactly the same symptoms or the same experience, yet it's a disorder that is shared among many.

Autism falls into a group of disorders called Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism and other ASDs are considered developmental disabilities, which means that they impair a child's ability to grow and develop normally.

Autism Spectrum Disorders normally affect three areas of functioning for a child:

  • Difficulty with social interactions

  • Difficulty with spoken language

  • Repetitive interests, thoughts, and behaviors

Autism Spectrum
Common ASDs & Symptoms

Autism and other ASDs are considered developmental disabilities, which means that they impair a child's ability to grow and develop normally.

Typical Autism Spectrum Disorders include:

  • High Functioning Autism

  • Asperger Syndrome

  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder

  • Rett Syndrome

  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

  • Classic Autism or Autistic Disorder

Common symptoms of autism include:

  • Lack of interest in or in response to people

  • Excessive interest in objects or things, rather than people

  • Failure to recognize or answer to their own name

  • Failure to show or feel empathy for others

  • Repetitive behaviors, such as twirling or rocking

  • Delayed speech and delay in reaching other developmental milestones

A child with an ASD might:

  • Not respond to their name by 12 months

  • Not point at objects to show interest by 14 months

  • Not play "pretend" games by 18 months

  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone

  • Have trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings

  • Have delayed speech and language skills

  • Repeat words or phrases over and over

  • Give unrelated answers to questions

  • Get upset by minor changes

  • Have obsessive interests

  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles

  • Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel

Causes of Autism

Scientists are not certain what causes autism but research into autism and genetics has shown that it is likely autism is genetically pre-determined. However research is on-going to determine which genes may be relevant and to what degree environmental “triggers” may be also be involved. It is possible that there is not one cause for autism but that there are several factors involved. 

The theory that a way a child was parented has long been dismissed as a possible cause of autism.

There may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have ASD:

  • Genes are one of the risk factors that can make a child more likely to develop an ASD

  • Children who have a sibling or parent with an ASD are at a higher risk of also having an ASD

  • ASDs tend to occur more often in children who have certain other medical conditions, for example; Fragile X Syndrome, Tuberous Sclerosis, Down Syndrome and other chromosomal disorders.

  • Some harmful drugs taken during pregnancy have been linked with a higher risk of ASDs, for example, the prescription drugs thalidomide and valproic acid

  • There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASDs occurs before birth

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