The cause of Autism is not clearly understood, genetic factors and brain damage may play a significant role.

There are 2 types of Autism

1. Autism also known as Kanner’s Syndrome or Infantile Autism:
This is a rare psychiatric disorder of childhood with onset before the age of two and a half years and is characterized by:

  • Severe difficulties in communication and forming relationships with other people
  • Difficulties in developing and using language and using abstract concepts
  • Repetitive and limited patterns of behaviour
  • Obsessive resistance to tiny changes in familiar surroundings

Autistic children find it hard to understand how other people feel and tend to remain isolated even into adult life. About 50% have learning disabilities, but some are very intelligent and may even be gifted in specific areas. The condition often progresses into adulthood and independent living is uncommon.

Treatment is not specific, but lengthy specialized education is usually necessary. Behavior problems and anxiety can be controlled with behavior therapy and, if necessary, drugs.

2. Autism can be the condition of retreating from realistic thinking to self-centred fantasy thinking. This may be as a symptom of a personality disorder or schizophrenia.

Asperger’s Syndrome

This condition is often considered to be a mild form of autism and is characterized by:

  • Social aloofness
  • Lack of interest in other people
  • Stilted and pedantic styles of speech
  • An excessive preoccupation with a very specialized interest
  • Intelligence can be normal or enhanced.

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