Autism Definition, Symptoms, Neuropathology, & Diagnosis
Autism Definition, Symptoms, Neuropathology, & Diagnosis

Autism Definition, Symptoms, Neuropathology, & Diagnosis

Below is a list of difficulties autistic people may share, including the two key difficulties required for a diagnosis. About 70 percent of children with autism exhibit abnormal eating behaviours as well, which can include extreme sensitivity to food textures and very narrow food preferences. Affected children, for example, may favour foods of a particular colour or may select only grains.

The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) is a common screening tool many pediatric offices use. Pediatricians can then use the responses to help identify children who may have an increased chance of developing ASD. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children undergo ASD screening at ages 18 and 24 months. A controversial 1998 study proposed a link between autism and the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. However, that study has been debunked by other research and was eventually retracted in 2010.

Social Communication and Interaction Skills

Read more about Autistic here.

Connect with NIMH Learn more about NIMH newsletters, public participation in grant reviews, research funding, clinical trials, the NIMH Gift Fund, and connecting with NIMH on social media. Brochures and Fact Sheets Download, read, and order free NIMH brochures and fact sheets about mental disorders and related topics.

It was long mostly presumed that there is a common cause at the genetic, cognitive, and neural levels for the social and non-social components of ASD’s symptoms, described as a triad in the classic autism criteria. But it is increasingly suspected that autism is instead a complex disorder whose core aspects have distinct causes that often cooccur. While it is unlikely that ASD has a single cause, many risk factors identified in the research literature may contribute to ASD development. These include genetics, prenatal and perinatal factors , neuroanatomical abnormalities, and environmental factors. It is possible to identify general factors, but much more difficult to pinpoint specific ones. Given the current state of knowledge, prediction can only be of a global nature and therefore requires the use of general markers. Babies develop at their own pace, and many don’t follow exact timelines found in some parenting books.

Signs and Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Research indicates that autistic people are significantly more likely to be LGBT than the general population. There is tentative evidence that gender dysphoria occurs more frequently in autistic people. A 2021 anonymized online survey of 16- to 90-year-olds revealed that autistic males are more likely to identify as bisexual, while autistic females are more likely to identify as homosexual. Several hypotheses have been presented that try to explain how and why autism develops by integrating known causes and findings . There are also simpler hypotheses that explain only individual parts of the neurobiology or phenotype of autism, such as mind-blindness , the weak central coherence theory, or the extreme male brain and empathising–systemising theory.

DSM-5 uses a “level” system, which ranks how in need of support the patient is, while the ICD-11 system has two axes, intellectual impairment and language impairment, as these are seen as the most crucial factors. As a parent, you already have what it takes to help your young child learn and grow.

For autistic people, stimming can sometimes get in the way of daily life or cause physical harm. But it can also serve as a helpful coping mechanism for dealing with sensory overload or navigating uncomfortable situations, among other things. Additionally, autistic children might have trouble expressing their feelings or understanding those of others starting at 36 months. Early symptoms may include a marked delay in language or social development. Sharing information and experiences can help people with ASD and their caregivers learn about treatment options and ASD-related programs. It is important to accurately detect and diagnose children with ASD as early as possible, as this will shed light on their unique strengths and challenges.

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. CDC is committed to continuing to provide essential data on ASD, search for factors that put children at risk for ASD and possible causes, and develop resources that help identify children with ASD as early as possible.

Caregivers should talk to their child’s health care provider about ASD screening or evaluation. A multitude of researched alternative therapies have also been implemented. A 2020 systematic review on adults with autism has provided emerging evidence for decreasing stress, anxiety, ruminating thoughts, anger, and aggression through mindfulness-based interventions for improving mental health. Gastrointestinal problems are one of the most commonly co-occurring medical conditions in autistic people. These are linked to greater social impairment, irritability, language impairments, mood changes, and behavior and sleep problems. A 2015 review proposed that immune, gastrointestinal inflammation, malfunction of the autonomic nervous system, gut flora alterations, and food metabolites may cause brain neuroinflammation and dysfunction.