Families For Autism Blog

This blog was created to complement our website where those who suffer with autism and the loved ones who love and support them can have a place to express themselves. We welcome anyone who might just want to know more about autism, how it affects them and the lives of their loved ones. Why did we create this blog and website at www.FamiliesForAutism.com? To let people know there is nothing wrong with having autism; they just need to look at things differently and know what works best for them.

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I'm Anita Leiter, President and Co-founder of Families For Autism. There are many people in the world who suffer from some form of Autism. Families for Autism is a place for those who suffer with Autism and the loved ones who love and support them.

We also welcome anyone who might just want to know more about Autism, how it affects them and the lives of their loved ones.

With the numbers of children and adults being diagnosed with autism today, family members of are turning more and more to the Internet for valuable resources to help them understand this disorder. One of the things that parents, spouses and friends are looking for is a solid support group designed specifically for them, that where Families For Autism comes in.

Our goal is to provide you one-stop shopping for information and support.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Let's Support Autism Awareness

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Common Symptoms

The common terminology, autism, is actually considered more broadly as the Autism Spectrum Disorders. The reason the Center for Disease Control labels it as such is because each individual person who has autism can have it at a variety of levels and not have the exact same symptoms as others with the same diagnosis.

Some common symptoms of this disorder are:

  • Social Skills – People with autism typically do not interact the same way as others in social settings either avoiding contact or remaining unsure how to interact. Sometimes, they avoid all opportunities of social interaction including even making any sort of eye contact, physical contact or noticing when people speak to them. Emotional understanding is sometimes absent, be it theirs or the emotions of those they are in contact with.

  • Speech, Language, and Communication – Again, the severity of the symptoms with those who suffer from autism will vary greatly. Some children will not speak at all while others can suffer from a condition known as echolalia, where they repeat what is told to them immediately or even at a later time.

    They can confuse hand gestures and words. They can also have difficulty adjusting the pitch and volume of their voices. People with autism can have a tendency to stand too close to a person or stick on a specific topic for too long, typically sticking on a topic they particularly like rather than back-and-forth conversation.

  • Repeated Behaviors and Routines – People who fall within the ASD spectrum also can have a tendency to repeat things and flourish better with some kind of routine. Disrupting this routine can actually cause greater upset among sufferers.

  • Developmental Rates – The developmental rates of children with ASD can very, unlike those without the disorder. They could have large delays in areas such as motor, language, and cognitive and social skills. Children also tend to learn a hard skill before they will learn an easy one and they can actually lose a skill once they learn it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What Causes Autism?

The short answer to the question of what causes autism is, “we don’t know.” Unfortunately, we as a society have not been able to pinpoint what exactly causes people to suffer from autism. The medical community does know, however, that it is caused by abnormalities in either the brain structure or its function.

A lot of research has been done in the area of links between genetics, hereditary and various medical problems as to possible causes of autism. The one thing that has been proven is that some families posses a pattern for autism and/or other related disorders, yet still no gene has been identified as the cause. Some have suggested that a cluster of inherited genes may be unstable and preventing proper brain development, thus causing the disorder.

There are a lot of other theories around the medical community as to what causes autism. One such theory says that there is that there may be problems with a women’s pregnancy or delivery. Some think it may be caused by reasons such as infections, metabolic imbalances or environmental chemicals. Whatever the cause, we do not know what it is exactly.

It has also been proven that autism also occurs more frequently in individuals who have certain medical conditions, including Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome, and untreated phenylketonuria (PKU). Substances ingested during pregnancy have also been associated with an increased risk of autism.

Questions have also been raised about whether vaccines children have received actually cause autism. The Autism Society of American reports that, “in 2001, an investigation by a committee of the Institute of Medicine concluded that the ‘evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship . . . . between MMR vaccines and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD).’ The committee however, acknowledged that ‘they could not rule out’ the possibility that the MMR vaccine could contribute to ASD in a small number of children.”

The only thing we can do is to continue with the research, knowing that eventually we can find the cause and hopefully a cure.