Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests its features during the first 30 months of life. It is characterized by impairment in social interaction, communication, restricted and repetitive behavior.
History of Autism
The word autism comes from the Greek word autos, which means “self”. The label “autistic” was first introduced by eminent psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler near the beginning of the 20th century. Originally, the term referred to a striking disturbance in schizophrenia, therefore, narrowing all sorts of relationships with people and excluding everything except one self.
In 1943, Leo Kanner saw cases of strange children who seemed unable to have any form of normal relationships with their peers. In contrast to schizophrenia, he noticed this behavior appeared to have been there from the very beginning. Furthermore, there was no progressive deterioration which is the case with schizophrenia.
Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis
There is no known single cause for autism. Many genetic and environmental theories have been proposed but no definite cause has been reached yet. It has been generally accepted that autism might not be a single disorder, but a combination of certain aspects such as social impairment, repetitive behavior, and communication difficulties, each having distinct causes.
Inappropriate laughing or giggling
Extreme distress for no apparent reason; tantrums
Resists changes in routine;insistence on sameness
Little or no eye contact
Not responsive to verbal cues, acts as deaf
Sustained odd play
Difficulty in expressing need; may use gestures
Inappropriate attachment to objects\
Difficulty in mixing with other children
Uneven gross/fine motor skills
There are no genetic or medical tests that can detect autism. An experienced professional must observe the child, acquire knowledge about the child’s development and then proceed to objectively follow internationally recognized criteria for diagnosis. The center utilizes the developmental tests which demonstrate feasibility in assessing actual and potential abilities of autistic children. At the top of the list:
Psycho-educational profile (revised) PEP-R for children up to 11 years
Diagnostic statistical manual IV edition revised DSM IV issued by American Psychiatric Association in 1994
Psycho-educational profile for adolescent and adults AAPEP
We have compiled a list of national organizations to help you gain knowledge about autism spectrum disorder
Autism Society of America (ASA)
The Autism Society of America was founded in 1965 by Bernard Rimland, Ph.D. His book, Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and Its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior, was written in late 1964 and was one of the first of its kind. In 1968, Ruth Sullivan, Ph.D. became the organization’s first elected president.
Over the last 40 years, the society has grown from a handful of parents into the leading source of information, research and reference on autism. ASA is the oldest and largest grassroots organization within the autism community.
Today, more than 120,000 members and supporters are connected through a working network of nearly 200 chapters nationwide. ASA membership continues to grow as more and more parents and professionals unite to form a collective voice representing the autism community.
Autism Speaks aims to bring the autism community together as one strong voice to urge the government and private sector to listen to concerns and take action to address this urgent global health crisis.
They are dedicated to funding bio-medical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism. Since its inception, they have committed an unprecedented $128 million in new research funding through 2014 to uncover the cause(s), prevention, treatments and cure for autism, making it the nation’s top private funder of autism research.
Their website provides information on autism, what to do about it, and how to cope. Their community section contains resources for families, outreach, and they have launched a social networking site, allowing member to blog, join forums on a range of autism-related topics, and post photos and videos.
There is also an extensive collection of research, science news and resources for both families and medical personnel.
The mission of the National Autism Association (NAA) is to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential. NAA, which has chapters across the united States, provides breaking news, information and resources, a library, message boards, and support services with families dealing with autism.
The foundation’s mission is to aid financially disadvantaged families who need assistance in caring for their children with autism; to fund education and research into the causes and consequences of childhood autism; and to serve as a clearinghouse and communications center for new programs and services developed for individuals with autism.
Ladders is a multi-disciplinary clinic dedicated to helping those with neurological disorders.
Founded in 1981, Ladders is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide services in the evaluation and treatment of children and adults with autism, pervasive developmental disorder and related disorders.
The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) s among the world’s largest and most experienced organizations effectively treating children with autism and related disorders.
Following ABA treatment, CARD develops individualized plans. With a network of trained supervisors & therapists, CARD can provide services to families throughout the world, regardless of geographic location.
U.S. Autism and Asperger Association (USAAA) is a worldwide nonprofit organization for autism and Asperger education, support, and solutions.
Their goal is to provide the opportunity for individuals with autism spectrum disorders to achieve their fullest potential.
They provide immediate solutions through expert guidance and support, consolidate information and resources for families, and provide networking opportunities for parents, professionals, students, educators, and individuals.