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Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Autism is a form of neurodevelopment disorder in the autism spectrum disorders. It is characterized by impaired development in social interactions and communication, both verbal and non-verbal. There is an observed lack of spontaneous acts of communication; both receptive and expressed, as well as speech impairments. A person diagnosed with Autism will also show a limited range of activities and interests, as well as forming and maintain peer relationships. The individuals will display limited interests, which are often very focused and repetitive. He or she is likely to be very routine oriented and may show behavioral symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, aggressiveness, and self-injurious behaviors.

There is no known single cause of autism. Researchers are investigating a number of possible theories including genetics, heredity, medical problems, problems during pregnancy or delivery, as well as environmental influences. It is widely accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in the brain structure or function. There is evidence from neuropathological studies that autism has its origins in abnormal brain development early in prenatal life which continues postnatally, showing acceleration in brain growth measured by head circumference (Zwaigenbaum, L., Bryson, S., Rogers, T., Roberts, W., Brian, J., & Szatmari, P., 2005). The disorder also seems to have a genetic basis, although researchers have yet to find the specific genes that link to the onset of autism. There could be a cluster of genes that have somehow interfered with normal brain development and function. Studies show that twins of children with autism were more likely to be autistic themselves than the regular population, demonstrating there is a heredity lin...

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..., Tager- Flusberg, H.,& Lainhart, J. E. (2006). Comorbid psychiatric disorders in children with autism: Interview development and rates of disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 36(7), 849-861.

Orsmond, G. I., Krauss, M. W., & Seltzer, M. M. (2004). Peer relationships and social and recreational activities among adolescents and adults with autism. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 34(3), 245-256.

Seltzer, M. M., Shattuck, P., Abbeduto, L., & Greenberg, J. S. (2004). Trajectory of development in adolescents and adults with autism. Mental retardation and developmental disabilities research reviews, 10(4), 234-247.

Zwaigenbaum, L., Bryson, S., Rogers, T., Roberts, W., Brian, J., & Szatmari, P. (2005). Behavioral manifestations of autism in the first year of life. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 23(2), 143-152.
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