by Natasha Gilani
The past few years have seen a surge in research pertaining to determine the cause of autism in hopes of finding a cure. Various theories have been drawn by medical researchers exploring the different types of autism, but no concrete cause has yet been established. However, current research has revealed that certain neurological or biological differences in the brain play a significant role in the matter. Many families have a pattern of autism or related disabilities, suggesting that the disorder may have a genetic base, although current research has not linked any one gene to autism. In addition, it is thought that more than one gene is involved in the process, complicating the issue even further.
Autism is not a mental illness, as previous incorrectly thought, nor is it “developed” in children who refuse to behave. Bad parenting is not a cause either, nor are any psychological factors involved in causing autism.
There are no medical tests present that can diagnose autism, and an accurate diagnosis can only be made based on observation of an individual’s developmental levels, communication and behavior. However, as autism shares many behaviors with other disorders, medical tests are performed to rule out or identify the causes of all other symptoms that are exhibited.
Diagnosing autism may prove tricky for a practitioner with limited exposure to it. Its symptoms vary between children, and a team comprising a developmental paediatrician, learning consultant, speech/language therapist, neurologist, or other professionals expert in the field need to collectively or individually evaluate an individual for diagnosis.
Often, difficulties in the acknowledgment and recognition of autism lead to an insufficient provision of care required to address the complex needs of autism. The best way to build an effective treatment and educational program is by an early identification and accurate diagnosis of the disorder.