Term autism (autismo - Spanish, Portuguese, Italian; autismus - German; autisme - Italian, French, Danish, Dutch, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian; autis - Indonesian and other) was coined in 1912  by Swiss psychiatrist Paul Bleuler (1857-1939).

Spectrums of autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), characterized by impairment in communication skills, social interactions, as well as restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior.  Types of ASD include autism (20-25% of adults with ASD), mild autism or Asperger's syndrome (or simply aspergers - 70-75% of adults with ASD) and other conditions such as PDD-NOS, Rett syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD).

autismo, autisme, autis, autismus, autism graph
Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects young and adult age groups.  The prevalence of autism is about 1–2 per 1,000 people worldwide.   The Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other researchers  estimate that 1 in every 110-150 births in the US will have  ASD (more frequent than Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, or  all childhood cancers combined), and the rate is growing  between 10% and 17% each year.   The question of whether this increase is due to changes in diagnostic practice or actual prevalence is unresolved.  Boys are four times more likely to have ASD than girls.  

Signs, symptoms and causes of aspergers and autism (autismo, autisme, autismus, autis)

First symptoms of this neural development disorder all begin during infancy or childhood, before a boy or a girl is three years old.  Symptoms usually start in children by 18 months and cause delays and problems in different skills that develop from toddler age to adulthood.  The signs involve problems in the areas of communication, social behaviour, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors.  Autism and aspergers affect cognitive development and information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood.  Research evidence strongly suggests that autism has a strong genetic basis.  However, it is unclear whether ASD is explained by rare mutations, or by combinations of other genetic variants.  In some cases, autism is believed to be a result of agents that cause birth defects.  Other proposed environmental causes, such as heavy metals, pesticides or childhood vaccines are controversial.  While some claimed these disorders to be caused by poor parenting, these assertions have been completely discredited by NIH (National Institutes of Health) reports.

Treatment and therapy for aspergers and autism (autismo, autisme, autismus, autis)

Parents usually notice symptoms in the first two years of their child's life.  The signs develop gradually, but some autistic children first develop more normally and then regress.  Early diagnosis and intervention is strongly recommended for the best outcomes.  Effective treatments include strategies for education, modified environment in order to reduce sensory stress, positive behavioural interventions and supports, medications, medical management of associated metabolic disorders if diagnosed.   Behavioral or cognitive intervention can help kids and teenagers with aspergers and autism gain self-care, social, and communication skills.  Although there is no known therapy, cure or remedy, there have been reported cases of children who recovered.  Herbal autism treatment thetole and elephant therapy for autism have been discussed in the literature.  When teenagers with autism and aspergers reach adult age many cannot live independently, though some become successful.  An autistic culture has developed, with some individuals seeking a cure and others believing autism and aspergers should be accepted as a difference and not treated as a disorder.

More than half a million boys and girls in this country are diagnosed with some degree of autism, and that number keeps on growing.  Most severe cases must be educated in private schools with special classroom environment, and local public schools must pick up much of the tab.  Many public schools are now ready to educate teenagers themselves.  There are also schools that are specifically set up for autistic teens and have the great advantage that everyone on staff understands autism, aspergers and knows how to deal with them in the classroom.

There are many books and stories about autism and aspergers.  Some are easier to understand than others.  Here is a short list of recommended literature.  You will find valuable information about parenting, how to deal with autism and aspergers in kids, teenagers and adults, how to find a school and compile a checklist, whether working with autism is possible and so on.