Updated: Jul 22, 2021
Born in Toronto, Carly Fleischmann was 2 years old when it became clear that mentally she was not keeping up with her twin sister. She was later diagnosed with Autism or ASD [ Autism Spectrum Disorder ]. Her parents struggled with communicating with her and she was very difficult to take care of, her father said in an interview. To better communicate with her parents, her therapist told her to communicate using a laptop. She struggled at first but later she understood that she could control her surroundings by communicating with her parents. Her parents were so happy that they could communicate with their daughter for the first time in 10 years. Through this communication, we could get an insight into what was going on inside her autistic brain.
We got answers to many questions that baffled us before. Why do autistic people hum, cover their ears with their palms, and flap hands while having a social interaction or conversation? Replying to this question she typed, it is a way to block out all the sensory inputs that overload the brain of autistic people. They create output to block the input. Our brains are wired differently. We take in many sounds and conversations at once & it is too much for our brain. She takes over 100 pictures if she looks at a face while having a conversation and that's why autistic people find it hard to look at people due to the overload on her brain, she said.
Autism is a set or spectrum of heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by early-onset difficulties in social interaction, repetitive behavior, and interests. The worldwide population prevalence is about 1%. Individuals with autism have abnormal cognitive profiles, such as impaired social cognition and social perception, executive dysfunction, and atypical perceptual and information processing. These profiles are underpinned by atypical neural development at the systems level. Genetics has a key role in the etiology of autism, in conjunction with developmentally early environmental factors. Large-effect rare mutations and small-effect common variants contribute to risk.
There was a myth floating around that vaccines are responsible for autism and autistic behavior. And the main reason was a chemical called thimerasol in the vaccines which caused them. So in 1992, they stopped the use of this in vaccines but there was no decrease in the number of autism cases in the US.
Later it was found out that the research which proved that vaccines caused autism was fraudulent and the license of the researcher was taken away.
What causes autism?
- According to epidemiological data, one association/cause is increasing parental/father's age during the conception of the baby.
- Another instance that can increase the probability that the infant will be autistic is the consumption of Valproic Acid [epilepsy medication] by the mother whilst pregnant.
-The main reason is the genetic factors that come into play because we can completely understand genetics and intervene as early as possible.
- The ratio of male to female autistic population is 4:1 and we still are unaware what is the reason behind this.
Researchers have come up with an amazing technique to diagnose autism at infant stage so that we can intervene as early as possible. This technique includes biomarkers testing like eye tracking while conversing. If the infant's eyes are not focused on the person talking we can diagnose it as autism.
But there are many ways to help minimize the symptoms and maximize abilities. People who have ASD have the best chance of using all of their abilities and skills if they receive appropriate therapies and interventions.
The most effective therapies and interventions are often different for each person. However, most people with ASD respond best to highly structured and specialized programs.1 In some cases, treatment can greatly reduce symptoms and help people with autism with daily activities.
All medications carry risks, some of them serious. Families should work closely with their children's healthcare providers to ensure safe use of any medication.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs might reduce the frequency and intensity of repetitive behaviors; decrease anxiety, irritability, tantrums, and aggressive behavior; and improve eye contact.
These medications are another type of antidepressant used to treat depression and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Psychoactive or anti-psychotic medications
The antipsychotic drug risperidone is approved for reducing irritability in 5-to-16-year-olds with autism. They can help in decreasing hyperactivity, reduce stereotyped behaviors, and minimize withdrawal and aggression among people with autism.
- Risperidone chemical structure
This group of medications can help to increase focus and decrease hyperactivity in people with autism. They are particularly helpful for those with mild ASD symptoms.
This group of medications can help relieve anxiety and panic disorders, which are often associated with ASD.
Message from the author
All these new treatments and diagnostic have given us the opportunity to impact the life of autistic people. But we still have a long way to go because we have so much that we still do not know. So I hope that this article spreads awareness and inspiration to work towards solving this problem and use our collective wisdom to make a difference.