Autism Symptoms

You can observe some Autism symptoms in a person as young as two years old and sometimes even younger. Here are the main Autism symptoms that will allow you to identify or wonder if your a member of your family, a friend or anyone else might be affected by this disorder. The severity of these Autism symptoms may vary as each individual is unique. That is why it is evaluated on a spectrum.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Autism Symptoms Revealed in Brain Test?

A snapshot of the brain may be able to reveal if someone has autism.

British scientists say they have developed a rapid test that would take only about 15 minutes and could help doctors diagnose the disorder cheaply and more accurately.

Experts at King's College London tested the scan on adults. They say it was able to identified tiny but crucial signs of autism only detectable by computer.

The new scanning method picks up on structural changes in the brain's gray matter.

The research team is now looking at whether the test will be effective on children.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Symptoms Of Autism

Autism symptoms

Autism symptoms can vary among those who have the condition. Not everyone that has autism will suffer from the same symptoms or the same severity. There are however a few symptoms that seem to be considered “core symptoms” which means that almost every person with Autism has them to some extent.

Some of the core symptoms will include problems with interacting and having relationships with others, trouble with verbal and nonverbal communication and limited interest in play or activities. Having problems in social situations and relationships is very common. People with autism tend to avoid eye contact. They do not make facial expressions to show emotion and their body language usually remains the same. Children with autism do not show interest in interacting with other children and do not know how to play. They show no desire or interest in activities. They do not get excited or share in the joy of others achievements. They also do not show empathy for others. They cannot relate to another person’s sorrow or pain.

In about 40% of autistic people, speech is never learned. For others the speech is delayed and hard to understand. They lose interest in conversation or often repeat words that are being said to them instead of engaging in conversation. It is also common for one to use the same words over and over. Autistic people also have a hard time understanding emotion used behind language. If someone is joking or using humor or laughing, an autistic person may be confused and not understand the conversation.

Autistic people often find certain objects or activities interesting. An obsession can form around particular items or interests. As children this can be noticed as an obsession with parts of a toy rather than using the toy as it normally would be played with. Collecting items can become a favorite pass time with an autistic person thinking or talking about the items often. Routines become crucial for people with autism. They expect things to go the same way every day. Rituals can become habit forming and tough to break. Without the rituals, one may become upset or confused. Autistic people can also participate in soothing techniques to comfort themselves during times of stress. This can include rocking, spinning, hand flapping or other repetitive behaviors.

Autism can be noticed by parents at a very early age. Behaviors can lead one to believe the child is suffering from some sort of mental or physical handicap but leave parents baffled as to what the diagnosis really is. A lot of babies can show signs of the disorder although it is not until the child reaches the toddler years or preschool that the diagnosis is actually made. A symptom of autism in children can include the child not enjoying the closeness of his parents. Often those with autism to not enjoy physical contact and a small child that does not like to be held, hugged or cuddled by his or her parents may have a form of autism. The child may also avoid eye contact with the parents, avoid playing games and not play with other children. Lack of speech development or learning to speak then suddenly stopping is another sign of children with autism.

Once autism is suspected or a parent sees any of these signs in their child, the child should be evaluated by a pediatrician as soon as possible. With early intervention and the beginning of treatment and therapy, a child can improve their social skills greatly. By starting the therapy early, a child with autism can grow up with much better chances of becoming a successful and integrated part of society.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Autism Symptoms Different In Boys And Girls

Girls with mild autism are less likely to be identified and diagnosed than boys, a study suggests.

Researchers examined 493 boys and 100 girls with autistic spectrum disorders.

They found the girls showed different symptoms, and fewer signs of symptoms traditionally associated with autism, such as repetitive behaviour.

The researchers, who presented their work to a Royal College of Psychiatrists meeting, said this might mean cases among girls are missed.

"We shouldn't assume autism or Asperger syndrome will look the same in both sexes
Professor Simon Baron-Cohen
University of Cambridge

Autism is thought to affect four times as many boys as girls - but the latest study suggests this might not be the case.

Most of the children featured in the study had been seen at the Social and Communication Disorders Clinic at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Additional cases came from Sunderland and Finland.

All the children were classified as "high-functioning". They did not have classic autism, but did have difficulties with socialising and communication.

Relationship obsessions

The researchers, who have yet to publish their research, found that the girls were more likely to have obsessional interests centred around people and relationships.

However, these interests were more likely to be acceptable to their parents, and therefore tended not to be reported to doctors.

Characteristics such as shyness and over-sensitivity, common to people affected by autism, are sometimes deemed to be typically female traits
Judith Gould
National Autistic Society

In addition, these types of obsessions were less likely to be discovered using standard diagnostic questionnaires.

The investigators said more research was needed to analyse how autism spectrum conditions manifest differently in the sexes.

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, an autism expert at the University of Cambridge, agreed.

He said: "This is an important clinical issue and there are too few studies addressing it.

"We shouldn't assume autism or Asperger syndrome will look the same in both sexes.

"There may be many factors leading to these conditions either being underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed in females, or leading females to require a diagnosis less often."

Judith Gould, of the National Autistic Society, said: "We hear from many women who have been diagnosed later in life.

"The way autism is presented in women can be very complex and so can be missed.

"It might be that due to misconceptions and stereotypes, many girls and women with autism are never referred for diagnosis, and so are missing from statistics.

"This may mean that many women who are undiagnosed are not receiving support, which can have a profound effect on them and their families."

Ms Gould said it was also possible that girls were better at masking difficulties in order to fit in with society.

"Characteristics such as shyness and oversensitivity, common to people affected by autism, are sometimes deemed to be typically female traits.

"However if a boy were to display such characteristics, concerns may be raised."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Early Autism Symptoms

Early Signs of Autism:
At 6 months:
Not making eye contact with parents during interaction.
Not cooing or babbling.
Not smiling when parents smile.
Not participating in vocal turn-taking (baby makes a sound, adult makes a sound, and so forth).
Not responding to peek-a-boo game.
At 12 months:
No attempts to speak.
Not pointing, waving or grasping.
No response when name is called.
Indifferent to others.
Repetitive body motions such as rocking or hand flapping.
Fixation on a single object.
Oversensitivity to textures, smells, sounds.
Strong resistance to change in routine.
Any loss of language.
At 24 months:
Does not initiate two-word phrases (that is, doesn't just echo words).
Any loss of words or developmental skill.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Great Article On Autism Symptoms

For parents of a child with autism - this article takes an important look at autism's early signs and the benefits of early intervention.The article is by Caroline Eggerding, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of pediatric and adolescent programs for Bancroft NeuroHealth in Haddonfield, NJ., a facility founded in 1883, which annually serves more than 1,300 children and adults with developmental disabilities, brain injuries and other neurological impairments. (
As a developmental pediatrician, Eggerding is board certified in pediatrics and a diplomate in neurodevelopmental disabilities. She is also a strong advocate on behalf of children with autism, and served a member of the NJ State Special Education Advisory Council, the American Academy of Pediatrics New Jersey Chapter Committee on Children with Disabilities and the New Jersey State Task Force on Education of Students with Autism. She earned her medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis, performed her residency at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and received post-graduate training at The Hospital for Sick children in London. She is staff physician at Voorhees Pediatric Facility in Voorhees, NJ and Weisman Children's Rehabilitation Hospital in Marlton, NJ.
Autism's early signs and the benefits of early intervention
According to recent statistics, nearly 1 in 166 of newborns will retreat into a world that is hard to penetrate — the world of autism. Although autism is usually diagnosed when a child is three to four years old, you may sense that something is wrong much earlier, sometimes as early as 18 months. Some parents report the change as being sudden, and that their children start to reject people, act strangely, and lose language and social skills they had previously acquired. In other cases, there is a plateau, or leveling, of progress so that the difference between the child with autism and other children the same age becomes more noticeable.As a parent who is in tune to your child’s actions and reactions, you may “feel” that your child’s language or social development is just not quite where you perceive it should be. You watch as emerging skills seems to stall or come to an abrupt halt. If you have voiced your concerns to your pediatrician, the physician knows that early childhood development varies and may be unwilling to label a problem too early thereby reducing expectations for your child. So a "wait and see" stance may be adopted not only by physicians, but also by daycare providers and teachers, delaying diagnosis and ultimately preventing early intervention.If there is one thing on which virtually everyone in the autism community today agrees, it is that early intervention is valuable and the earlier the better. Many professionals now believe that the benefits of an early diagnosis and intervention far outweigh the risk of an early ‘misdiagnosis.’ Even with so many media headlines about autism, many people are still wondering what the condition is, what causes it and what the cure is. Essentially, autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. Children and adults with autism have difficulties with verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction and leisure or play activities. What causes autism is unknown but what is known is that the reported incidence is on the rise and presently, there is no cure.Early indicators include:• no babbling or pointing or other gesture by 12 months;• no words by 16 months;• lack of two-word phrases by 24 months;• using language in an unusual way, such as repeating what others say; • an apparent regression in language or social skills;• indifference to or disconnect from others (e.g. avoiding eye contact as they get older);• overly sensitive to sensations such as sounds, touch, brightness; • reacts negatively to changes such as new foods, new clothes, different schedules or changes in plans; and• engages in repetitive movements (bouncing, flapping hands, rocking), especially when excited.Studies have shown that children who receive educational intervention before the age of four years significantly improve their chances of learning new skills and adapting to their environment, when compared with children who begin intervention at a later age. Early and appropriate intervention can be the key to greater independence, better social interaction, and, ultimately, a more productive and fulfilling life as an adult. Additionally, early intervention can impact positively on the entire family, reducing some of the anxiety and stress that plagues parents of children with disabilities.It has become clear that there is no single best treatment package for all children with autism. So how do you as a parent start down the right path? There are multiple resources for you to explore. For example, the Autism Society of America and the National Institute for Mental Health can help you ask the right questions about any proposed treatment plan for your child. There are also schools that provide the structured programs that can help shape your child’s ability to handle everyday life as they grow.With a need-based, structured program, every child with autism can have the opportunity to grow to his or her maximum potential. That is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Scientists Hoping To Reverse Autism Symptoms In Some Patients

Scientists could be on the verge of a new treatment for autism, if the results of animal research hold up in people. A study in mice suggests that several drugs, including one that is poised to enter trials in human patients as soon as next year, could improve brain function and reverse the symptoms of some autistic patients.
So far, the research indicates the drugs will only be effective for one form of autism that is caused by a mutation of a gene on the X chromosome, a condition known as fragile X syndrome. But the researchers think there's a possibility the medications could also work for other cases of autism where the cause is unknown.
“I really hope that we can go beyond fragile X and see significant improvement in children with other types of autism,” said Mark Bear, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who led the mice research.

Autism disorders strike 1 out of every 150 children. Currently there is no cure for autism, a complex developmental disorder that impairs a person’s ability to communicate and relate with others and is associated with a range of unusual repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects.
The exact cause of the disorder remains elusive but it has been linked to a variety of genes, including the fragile X mutation that can lead to both mental retardation and autism. Most patients with fragile X will show some autism symptoms and about 20 percent will meet the criteria to be considered autistic. The mutation is thought to lead to mental problems because it causes hyperactivity of a brain protein called metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) that normally plays a role in learning and memory.
A team led by Bear wondered if reducing levels of mGluR5 protein could restore normal brain function. The researchers used a combination of genetic engineering and selective breeding to produce a line of mice that had both the fragile X mutation and toned down levels of the mGluR5 protein in their brain. The intent was to get an idea of what would happen when the protein was suppressed using a drug in human patients.
In a finding that the researchers described as “remarkable” in Thursday’s issue of the scientific journal Neuron, the mice — which should have had mental retardation and autism-like symptoms due to the fragile X mutation — instead showed near-normal brain function and memory.

Pill in the worksThat was exciting in and of itself, because it indicated that blocking the mGluR5 protein could lead to improvements in some forms of autism and mental retardation. But Bear said the even more provocative implication is that a compound that does just that already exists. A few years ago, he founded Seaside Therapeutics, a small pharmaceutical firm in Cambridge, Mass., that is developing a mGluR5-blocking drug called STX107. The agent, which would be taken as a pill, has passed all the safety studies required for beginning studies in people.
Autism drugs in the pipeline
Three drugs are being developed for treating Fragile X/autism by blocking a brain protein called metabotropic glutamate receptor 5:
Drug: STX107 Firm behind it: Seaside TherapeuticsStatus: Company anticipates trials in patients starting in 2008
Drug: LithiumFirm behind it: Rush UniversityStatus: Currently in clinical trial in patients
Drug: FenobamFirm behind it: FRAXA/NeuropharmStatus: Already studied in humans for anxiety; slated to enter trials in Fragile X patients in 2008
Randall Carpenter, Seaside's president and chief executive officer, said he's “cautiously optimistic,” about STX107's potential to reverse autism symptoms in people. “These are really exciting findings, but we really don't know how helpful it's going to be until we test it in humans,” he said.
Seaside now plans to meet with the Food and Drug Administration to request approval to begin clinical trials involving people with fragile X syndrome and autism. Carpenter anticipates starting the initial human studies sometime next year.
Outside researchers also were enthusiastic about the potential of the compound.“It seems very promising indeed,” said Matthew Belmonte, a neuroscientist at Cornell University's Department of Human Development. He said the study in mice suggests that drugs that suppress mGluR5 can restore brain function without causing any other ill effects. That bodes well for human trials, Belmonte said, but he noted that suppressing a gene in an animal study is not the same as using a drug in people so there could be unforeseen risks that may turn up. Not everyone is on board, however. Sophia Colamarino, a neurobiologist and vice president of research for the advocacy group Autism Speaks, which helped fund Bear's research, said the finding “give us hope” that this could be a viable strategy for treating autism, but she added that it's too early to tell whether STX107 will improve autistic behaviors in people. The drug could reduce mGluR5 levels, but autism is such a complex disease, this may not be enough to restore normal behavior in patients, Colamarino said.
Two other drugs in the worksIf the drug does fail, there still may be hope for patients and their families. The Fragile X Research Foundation (FRAXA), which co-funded STX107 research, is supporting investigations involving two other drugs that block the same protein.
Lithium, which is used for treating depression and bipolar disorder, is being investigated for its potential to treat autism and fragile X by researchers at Rush University in Chicago.
And another compound called fenobam — initially developed as an anti-anxiety medication in the 1970s and then abandoned — is being revitalized for fragile X by Neuropharm, a Surrey, UK-based pharmaceutical company. “We believe that drugs which block mGluR5 have enormous potential for the treatment of fragile X and related developmental disorders, including many cases of autism,” said Katie Clapp, president and executive director of FRAXA.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Fever May Briefly Aleviate Autism Symptoms

The behavior of children with autism may improve during a fever, according to a first-of-kind study, “Behaviors Associated With Fever in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders,” published Nov. 30 in Pediatrics.
Researchers hypothesize that fever may restore nerve cell communications in regions of the autistic brain. The restoration may help children improve socialization skills during a fever.
The study was based on 30 autistic children between ages 2 and 18 who were observed during and after a fever of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. More than 80 percent of the children showed some improvement in behavior during a fever and 30 percent showed significant improvement, researchers said. Behavior changes included longer concentration span, increased amount of talking and improved eye contact.
The study was written by Craig J. Newschaffer, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University, and Laura K. Curran, Ph.D., an epidemiology doctoral degree graduate who Newschaffer advised before he joined Drexel from Johns Hopkins University.
“Any leads that suggest new biologic mechanisms that could be acted on through treatment are welcomed,” Newschaffer said.
Study data suggest that behavior changes may not solely be the byproduct of sickness and, consequently, could be the byproduct of a biologic response to fever. More research, however, is needed to prove fever-specific effects, researchers say.
Autism can limit social interactions and disable verbal and nonverbal communication. About 1.5 million Americans have some form of autism, according to the Autism Society of America. The cause of autism is unknown.
The study was co-written by Stephen O. Crawford, M.H.S., predoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University; Michael V. Johnston, M.D., research scientist in the Kennedy Krieger Institute; Li-Ching Lee, Ph.D., assistant scientist at Johns Hopkins University; and Dr. Andrew W. Zimmerman, M.D., pediatric neurologist and research scientist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute