Saturday, June 11, 2011

Learning about the Basics of Autism and Asperger

I have decided today to go back to the start and learn all about Autism and Asperger. By learning the basics and really understanding it I should be better able to help Matthew and Samuel, and even myself, on their journey through the world with ASD.

This might seem like such a simple thing to find information these day with the help of the internet but this is not always the case. When you start looking out there, there is so much information but it is not always easy to find the information that you want and also be able to understand it in laymans terms. I will share here what I learn and hope that it helps others going through the same journey.

The first thing I have done is look for resources that I can understand and give me the best information.
Here are the ones I have found so far that I really like:
I know there are heaps more great resources out there but I think it is best to focus one or two at a time so I can really understand what I am reading.

Raising Children Network

Causes of autism spectrum disorder
We don’t yet know exactly what causes autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In fact, it’s suspected that there may be several causes. Among these are brain development and genetic factors. Autism is not caused by anything that parents do or don’t do while raising their child.
Brain development
In children with ASD, the brain develops differently from typically developing children:
The brain tends to grow too fast during early childhood, especially during the first three years of life.
The brain of an infant with ASD appears to have more cells than it needs, as well as inefficient connections between the cells.

Too many connections
It’s thought that the characteristic behaviours of autism come from difficulties with how the brain processes information (especially if the affected areas of the brain are those responsible for understanding emotions and language). A young child’s brain is developing all the time. Every time a child does something or responds to
something, connections in the brain are reinforced and become stronger. Over time, the connections
that aren’t reinforced disappear – they are ‘pruned’ away as they’re not needed. This ‘pruning’ is how the brain makes room for important connections – those needed for everyday actions and responses. It’s thought that, in children with ASD, this pruning doesn’t take place as much as it should – so information might be lost or sent through the wrong connections. The lack of pruning might also explain why the brain seems to be growing faster than in typical development.

Genetic factors seem to play a major part in ASD. For example, some families have multiple children
diagnosed with ASD, and ASD also occurs in four times as many boys as girls. One specific gene is unlikely to be responsible for ASD. Rather, it might be that several genes combine and act together.
It’s also possible that different gene combinations lead to different kinds of ASD, such as autistic
disorder and Asperger’s disorder.

1 comment:

  1. I knew nothing of autism before reading this...I guess I always just assumed it was all genetic in the womb not the first 3 years as well...thank you for putting this topic out there...the more information we all have the better we ALL can help everyone in the world :)