Autism isn’t just a single condition. Instead, it actually refers to a broad range of lifelong conditions that people are born with or that become apparent in childhood. Someone who is autistic doens’t technically have any kind of diseases or illness; their brain just works in a slightly different way and it will continue to do so for the rest of the person’s life. Autism can be classed as a developmental disability since it affects how people interact with the world around them and communicate with others; those with autism may also show signs of repetitive or restrictive behaviour.
Since there are so many types of autism and it can affect people so differently, it’s often referred to as a spectrum. Some people with autism need very little support, if any, from others and can get by in everyday life just fine; others, whose autism affects them a lot more, may need daily help from someone such as a parent, partner or carer. Some of the main signs ot autism include finding social interactions harder, developing anxiety about being in an unfamiliar situation, needing more time to understand things, having problems with loud noises and bright lights, and doing certain things over and over again.
Someone who’s diagnosed with autism is still fully capable of enjoying a full and complete life. Autistic people may need a bit of help doing certain things; they may take longer to do things as well. But, this shouldn’t stop them from doing what they want to. It’s estimated that there are around 25 million people in the world with autism. Males are four-to-five times more likely to be diagnosed with autsim than females. About 1.5% of all children are diagnosed with the condition.
Despite there being signficant amounts of research on autism being carried out, it’s still not fully clear what causes it. Many possible theories have been proposed over the years, but there’s never been a definitive cause confirmed. It’s widely believed that the condition is caused by something in a person’s genetics; this may go some way to explaining why several people in the same family can get diagnosed with the condition. Some have proposed that autism may be linked to things like an infection or even vaccinations such as the MMR vaccine. The condition has also been linked with a lack of vitamin D, or even bad parenting – this last possible condition has been touted as a possible cause because autism affects interaction and developmental skills.
Though there’s not a definitive answer as to what causes autism, research remains ongoing. There is no cure for the condition, so as previously mentioned those with it have it for life. Research into the condition therefore focuses on highlighting what causes it and trying to find a way for autistic people to live with their condition more easily, wherever on the spectrum they fall.