How does Autism affect individuals?
Autism affects individuals’ neurologic connections. A way of describing it is “re-wiring the brain”- it changes pathways in the brain creating heightened and depressed sensory and perceptual awareness. One of the evidences of this is the hypo and hyper-sensitivity of individuals with autism. Their senses can be overloaded by stimuli (or not register stimuli at all). Examples include soft things causing perceived pain or the inability to feel that a surface is hot. (It is important to remember that ever individual has different issues caused by autism).
For individuals with autism social behaviors and norms that are learned instinctively by neuro-typical individuals are not easily learned. This makes learning and interacting socially very difficult. Individuals with autism also have restrictive behavioral patterns, fixation, and aversion to eye contact. Some individuals describe low-functioning individuals as being in “another world”.
Autism also causes the brain to process stimuli at 1/100 of a second slower than a neuro-typical brain. For this reason individuals with autism often have difficulty in situations that are completely new, too busy, or full of change.
Autism is a spectrum of disorders, ranging from high-functioning Asperger’s Syndrome to PPD-NOs. There are varied degrees of autism, described high to low functioning, and high-functioning individuals show close to no signs of autism, whereas a low-functioning may have signs of autism recognizable from a distance.
Can autism be prevented?
Currently we do not know that autism can be prevented. The main reason for this is that we don’t know how it is caused – and you can’t easily prevent something without knowing the cause. Hopefully we can learn what causes autism in the near future and prevent autism from being an issue the coming generations must face.
Can autism be treated?
Currently there is no “treatment” per se, but there are varied therapies which have differing levels of effectiveness limiting the effects of autism and helping the individuals with autism function at a higher level. The most common therapies are behavioral. Programs such as TEAACH work at creating structure for individuals with autism, assessing their progress and designing an individualized teaching system.
Other therapies are mostly dietary. Recent studies are showing that non-pasteurized milk/milk protein is having success at mitigating the symptoms of autism. If you want information on how to get non-pasteurized milk protein contact us here at AfA and we’d be happy to tell you more!