Autism is a neurobehavioral condition that can have a mild or significant impact on one’s quality of life. It is a condition that generally presents around two to three years of age and can impair social interaction, developmental language, and communication skills.
The implications of Autism are wide-ranging and fall under the umbrella term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Symptoms can range from mild to non-verbal communication to disability requiring institutionalization.
Individuals, and more often children, diagnosed with ASD commonly exhibit comorbid symptoms such as aggression, hyperactivity, self-injury, aggressiveness, sleep disorders, and anxiety. Pharmaceutical treatment methods include the use of various psychotropic medications, anxiolytics, and stimulants. Non-pharmaceutical treatment options include behavioral management therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and education/school-based therapies to name a few.
Statistics show that around one-third of people with Autism are non-verbal and it affects boys more than girls. The 2018 National Autism Spectrum Disorder Surveillance System reported that 1 in 66 children in Canada is affected by Autism. This statistic notes that Autism affects 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
There is no known cause of Autism, although researchers believe its development is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Children with autism generally have trouble communicating and have a poor understanding of how other people feel and think. Symptoms can include non-verbal communication, rigid and repetitive behaviours, and at its worst, devastating disabilities that require the person to be institutionalized.