In recent years, some problems that face people starting in childhood have been receiving a lot more attention. One problem that has come under the public spotlight is actually a host of issues that fall under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorder. Unlike other conditions, this is not merely one problem but a condition that exists with a range of signs and symptoms, hence the term “spectrum.” Here are some things parents should know.
The rates for autism spectrum disorder are going up.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has affirmed that autism spectrum disorder has has increased by a factor of ten since the 1980s. It has been estimated that the disorder can be found to some degree in one in 88 children. This has not been attributed to a rise in the actual number of children who have the disorder rather it has been attributed to better and earlier diagnoses and reporting. We are finding more of it because we are looking for it more, not because more children are “getting it.”
Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder are being done earlier.
Unlike other conditions, there is no simple test that can find a child has autism spectrum disorder. There are a series of autism spectrum disorder symptoms and behavioral signs that parents can watch for and doctors can use to diagnose the problems. In years past, the diagnosis was often delayed until it became painfully obvious. More and more pediatricians have become aware of and are on the lookout for signs of autism spectrum disorder. As a consequence, medical professionals have become much better at recognizing the condition and it is being diagnosed at younger ages. That is a very good thing.
The earlier treatment is started, the better.
While autism spectrum disorder has no real “cure” there are therapies that can make a huge difference for the people who have it. This is a complicated condition that involves a lot. People who have been diagnosed with it may have a number of different issues and display a series of different signs and symptoms. Early intervention can help children improve. Also, because there are so many different problems with the disorder, personalized treatment can make a world of difference.
Autism spectrum disorder is genetic.
Geneticists say that there are a lot of genes involved in the development of autism spectrum disorder. This number ranges from three to 20 but at the end of the day, it has been determined to be a problem of genetics. This was big news for a lot of people because for years, it was viewed to be a result of bad parenting. Now it has been determined that if a couple has one child with the disorder, the chances that a sibling will also have it hover between 5 and 10% higher.
Vaccines do not cause autism spectrum disorder.
In recent years, a lot has been made of a possible link between autism spectrum disorder and vaccines. The vaccines that have been at the center of this are those for measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). As a result, this has been researched extensively and there has been no evidence showing any kind of link. Any perceived link between the immunizations and autism spectrum disorder is nothing but a coincidence.
There is a connection between head size and autism spectrum disorder.
The Journal of the American Medical Association has published research that indicates that kids with autism spectrum disorder have brains that develop at a different rate. Their brains tend to grow much, much faster than in other babies. While not all babies with larger heads have it, it is worth to talk to your pediatrician if you suspect this. Again, this is important because the earlier you discover your child has the disorder, the more you can do to help them.
More and more advancements are being made in the treatment of problems such as autism spectrum disorder. The same can be said for anxiety disorders, mood disorders and ADHD. While it may seem upsetting that so many more cases of these are being diagnosed, this is more a factor of better diagnosis. Along with the advancements in diagnosis have some advancements in treatments. This is a very good thing for both parents and children.