Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that refers to a range of symptoms characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Approximately as 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with ASD, boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.
A diagnosis is usually done by a multi-disciplinary team, often including a neurologist, pediatrician, psychiatrist and speech therapist. Diagnosis is made based on persistent difficulties with social communication and interaction, as well restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors since early childhood, to the extent that they impair everyday functioning. Hyper or hypo-reactivity to sensory input is also one of the diagnostic criteria for ASD.
It is widely recognized that many autistic people also have at least one comorbid disorder. Medical and mental health issues that frequently accompany ASD include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, sleep disturbances, seizures, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression and anxiety.
Currently, there is no 'cure' for autism. However, there is a range of strategies and approaches taken in order to support learning and development, as well as pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to address co-morbidities such as insomnia, hyperactivity and others.
* This information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of personal consultation, as appropriate, with a qualified healthcare professional