Video Presentation: Autism - Defined as a Behavioral Disorder; Characterized by Treatable Medical Problems - Presented by Elizabeth Mumper, MD
A brief overview of the history of autism diagnosis and treatment: Dr. Mumper will explore the plausibility of treating medical disorders associated with autism based on our current understanding of the emerging science.
Autism is a severe developmental disorder that begins at birth or within the first two-and-a-half years of life. Most autistic children look like other kids and are perfectly normal in appearance, but do spend their time engaged in puzzling and disturbing behaviors which are markedly different from those of typical children. Less severe cases on the spectrum may be diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or with Asperger's Syndrome, these children usually typically have normal speech and might even be intellectually gifted, but they have one or more many "autistic" social and behavioral problems.
People used to think autism was irreversible. The good news is that there are are now a wide range variety of treatments that can be very helpful.
A good starting point for choosing one is to look at the parent ratings of interventions, which presents the responses of more than 25,000 parents, showing the effectiveness.
How Common is it?
For many years autism was rare - occurring in just five children out of per 10,000 live births. However, since the early 1990's, the rate of autism has increased dramatically around the world, with figures as high as 60 per 10,000. Boys outnumber girls four to one. The US Federal Centers for Disease Control estimates that as many as 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with an ASD.
What is the Longer-Term Outlook?
Age at intervention has a direct impact on outcome--typically, the earlier a child is treated, the better the prognosis will be. In recent years there has been a marked increase in the percentage of children who can attend school in a typical classroom and go on to live semi-independently in community settings. However, but the majority of autistic persons remain impaired to some degree in their ability to communicate and socialize.