Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that normally presents in early childhood. Normally around the ages of 2-4 years of age parents pick up on it. It is thought to be caused by an interaction of genes and environmental factors, so these kids are born with a particular set of genes that predispose them to environmental triggers. Toxins in the environment as we’ve learnt are triggers.
The characteristics include:
– Impairments in language. So the kids often don’t talk. That’s one of the early symptoms is the kids don’t actually talk or have delayed language skills.
– Impairment in communication and social skills, so they’ll often have lack of eye contact. They’ll look away from you. They’ll talk to you but they’ll look across the other side of the room. Repetitive behaviour – things like – they call it stimming. They don’t socialise very well amongst their peer groups, so they’ll often be loners, and don’t know how to socialise, don’t have the skills to socialise. They’ll sometimes want to but they can’t.
– They often have behavioural abnormalities, so poor behaviour, and part of that can be just because they can’t communicate.
– Poor immune function, so they are usually very prone to any flus, colds, any form of infection. They’re very prone to them.
– Self-stimulatory behaviour, so they might do things with their hands when they’re stressed, or just normally. It just makes them feel better.
– They’re usually poor sleepers. Most parents will say they lack sleep themselves because the child doesn’t sleep much.
– Anxiety – they’re often very anxious.
– Short attention span when it comes to things that they’re not particularly interested in. They can be obsessional with certain interests but if it’s something they’re not particularly interested in, they can’t focus for long.
– They’re usually hypersensitive to sound and touch, so clothing and things like that will often irritate them if it’s not the right type of clothing it’ll annoy them or rub.
Statistics – latest statistics from the U.S., from the Centres for Disease Control, is saying one in 50 kids have now been diagnosed with autism which is pretty amazing considering 40 years ago it was one in 25,000, and 15 years ago one in 10,000. It’s becoming an epidemic and it has to be something to do with environmental factors.