Autism: An Indepth Look

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Autism is the fastest growing population of special needs students in the US, having grown by over 900% between 1992 and 2001, according to data from the United States Department of Education. In 1999, the Autism incidence rate in the US was generally cited at 4.5 cases per 10,000 live births. Autism is not caused by bad parenting, and children with autism are not unruly kids who choose to misbehave. Autism is a developmental disability of the brain, much like dyslexia, mental retardation, or attention deficit disorder. Autism is not a form of mental retardation, and though many autistic people appear to function as retarded, they are frequently quite intelligent.

Autism is characterized by impairments in socialization, communication, and behavior and play. Children affected with this disorder “demonstrate deficits in 1) social interaction, 2) verbal and nonverbal communication, and 3) repetitive behaviors or interests. Autism is now an epidemic in the United States and in much of the world, rising by as much as 1000% in some areas. The Healthy Mind Guide: Reversing Autism explores why and offers effective treatment options and the possibility of a positive outcome via natural medicine therapies that can ameliorate or reverse the disorder in many cases. Autism is diagnosed on the basis of abnormalities in the areas of social development, communicative development, and imagination, together with marked repetitive or obsessional behavior or unusual, narrow interests. Individuals with autism may have an IQ at any level.

Symptoms of autism usually appear before age three, but treatment may span a lifetime. Early intervention leads to the best outcomes, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms and address them as they are identified. Symptoms of brain damage usually begin 7 to 10 years after infection. Death occurs 1-3 years after the onset of symptoms.

Autism is rare in Amish society, and the standing assumption has been that this is because most Amish refuse to vaccinate children. The Amish also do not watch television. Autism is part of a cluster of conditions called autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), or known by the broader term, pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs). All of these conditions share similar symptoms. Autism is most commonly diagnosed at 20 to 36 months, but experts say the signs often surface earlier. Many families experience delays because pediatricians often dismiss their concerns.

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