What is Autism Spectrum Disorders – ASD?

Autism Spectrum Disorders – ASD – Aspergers

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a term used to describe a number of similar, yet distinct medical diagnoses. These include:

  • Autism Disorder,
  • Asperger’s Disorder,
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder,
  • Rett’s Disorder,
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

Put simply it is developmental delay of a part of the brain which deals with communication and social interaction skills. Autistic children appear to be in a world of their own, paying little or no attention to others around them and providing their own stimuli. Classic signs of an autistic child are poor eye contact, poor speech and language skills, obsessive and repetitive behaviours, self rocking, spinning objects, tapping, (repetitive motions which provide visual stimulation), head banging, seemingly unnecessary tantrums (to us). These are just the most obvious signs, however the list goes on and every child has their different traits. There are many web sites which provide in depth information on this subject, here is a link to “Overview of Autism”, by
Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D. [click here]

What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorders

There are many theories on the possible causes of autism, among them are the MMR vaccine, mercury poisoning from the preservatives used for child vaccinations, excessive emotional stress while the mother is pregnant with the child, genetic factors which carry through generations, and one of the latest findings that the brain develops too fast and too large while the fetus is in the womb. This for us was an interesting finding as we were told by the pediatrician on Isy’s last ultra scan before she was born that she was going to be a clever girl as she had quite a large brain! “interesting”… Although there are many theories, they still don’t know conclusively what causes autism or related disorders. From all I have read, heard about and seen, my personal opinion is that it may be a genetic trait that is carried through generations, but with certain triggers it shows up on some children as autism or related disorders. By triggers I mean things like the MMR viruses, or the Mercury poisoning, or the damage caused by the brain growing too large, hence not all children who have vaccines etc. show signs of autism! Mind you this is merely my opinion only.

Is There a Cure For Autism Spectrum Disorders?

According to the experts – NO.

However there are some pretty amazing success stories out there. One of the more notable ones being the son of a couple in Massachusetts who was diagnosed as severe autistic, his parents were advised to institutionalise him but they refused and they went on to develop their own program to teach an apparently un-teachable, unreachable child. He now has a near genius IQ, has graduated from university, is a highly verbal and social person, and now teaches other autistic children and their parents at the Autism Treatment Center of America. His name is Raun Kaufman, his parents run the Option Institute and the Son-Rise program. The core of their success would seem to be an extremely positive attitude, unconditional love, endless hours of tuition and therapy and believing in yourself. This is just one of many programs that are available, including the Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Giant Steps and more. They all seem to focus on early intervention and getting down to the child’s level in order to be able to reach them.

We believe (again this is only our opinion and beliefs)that although the child has part of the brain undeveloped that deals with the skills they lack, that it is possible to develop another part of the brain to take over those functions, if they are taught early enough. Because of their state it is important to get through to them, in order to do this they must be fully accepted and loved unconditionally and many many hours spent developing that part of the brain which wasn’t initially designed for those skills. They say that humans only use a small percentage of their brains capacity. If so, and judging from others success stories it appears that it is possible, and that they may even reach limits far beyond the norm.

“there is no limit to what we can achieve – if we believe”

© 2010 – 2011, EJ Banon. All rights reserved.

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