Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), also known as high-functioning autism (HFA), is an impairment that affects the way a person thinks and feels. Unlike other types of autism spectrum disorder, people with ASDs are usually not hospitalized or given drugs for their condition. Instead, they are encouraged to live normally like other children. Children with HFA often grow up to be doctors, counselors or businessmen. But most become loners and often become frustrated because of the barriers they encounter in life.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), also known as high-functioning autism (HFA), is a neurological developmental disorder characterized by the following: Difficulties in relating to others, including nonverbal communication, social interaction, eye contact, and speech. Unlike other forms of autism spectrum disorder, those with HFA usually grow up to be adults with careers and families. Those with ASDs are typically diagnosed when they are approximately 16 years old. However, there have been cases of children developing ASDs even earlier. These cases are considered rare.
There are two types of autism spectrum disorder that are common among those with ASDs. The first is Fragile X syndrome. This disorder is diagnosed in one out of every four boys and one out of every eight girls. In Fragile X syndrome, there are usually three or more characteristic symptoms that differ from other forms of autism spectrum disorder. One of these symptoms is poor social interaction.
People with Fragile X syndrome usually have abnormalities in their appearance, development and behavior. Most of the time, these symptoms are not manifested as autistic traits. Instead, they are considered ordinary personality traits that lead to the child’s impairment in social skills. The child may have abnormal gestures, or he or she may be prone to repetitive actions or movements.
Another symptom of Fragile X syndrome is the presence of atypical behavioral patterns. Often, these are considered as deviant behavior, which is considered as a deviation from the expected social interaction and communication patterns of an individual. As such, the child may show lack of interest in games, show deficiencies in communication or social interaction, and may have difficulties in relating to others.
One of the possible causes of autism spectrum disorder has been linked to fetal alcohol syndrome. This syndrome occurs during pregnancy and has been associated with a number of birth defects including low IQ, developmental delays in learning, and brain abnormalities. Fetal alcohol syndrome has also been associated to an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in children. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. Instead, it is believed that other factors, such as prenatal exposure to environmental factors, are responsible for this occurrence.
Abnormalities in brain development are believed to be a cause of autism spectrum disorder. Recent studies have shown that individuals with autism spectrum disorder show abnormalities in brain structure and function, as compared to normal individuals. These include abnormalities in the cortico-striatal network, corticobasal degeneration, corticobasal barbaric neurons, the mirror neuron system, the putamen, the periaqueductal grey matter, and the retinaculum. Although these abnormalities have been observed, they are still unproven in terms of causal factors. In addition, researchers have found out that language skills of affected children with autism spectrum disorder show abnormalities as well, which could be a significant contributory factor in the development of language skills.
The symptoms and characteristics of autism spectrum disorder usually first appear in the early childhood years. However, some individuals with the disorder have reached adulthood. The disorder often shows symptoms during the first year of life or even at birth. While most people with autism spectrum disorder begin their symptoms between the ages of three to twelve years, some might display symptoms up to 18 years of age. In most cases, symptoms start to lessen or disappear by the time the child reaches the age of four or five. The severity of symptoms experienced by an individual may differ from one individual to another, but the symptoms usually are noticeable from the ages of three to eighteen years.