Autism, what causes it and what the symptoms are.

Essay by TiReDcHiLsUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2002

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Autism is defined as a complex developmental disability that usually appears during the first three years of life. Many people with autism experience difficulty in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. Autism makes it hard for them to relate to the outside world. Some other effects of this disorder are extreme aggressive behavior. This aggressive behavior can be towards others and even to themselves. People with autism may show behaviors such as repeated body movements such as rocking or hand flapping, resistance to changes in certain routines and unusual and unexplained responses to people. They may also show signs of abnormal responses to sensations.

The one question that remains to be positively answered is: What causes autism? Even though a single specific cause of autism is not know, researchers have been able to link autism to neurological or biological differences in the brain. In some cases, there appears to be a pattern of autism in families supporting the thought that this disorder may very well be genetic.

Although, almost all people with autism are born to parents who do not have the condition. It also appears that autism could be influenced by environmental factors. Autism can result from certain events before or shortly after birth. Factors such as infection of the brain with herpes virus, infection of the pregnant mother with rubella virus, and also problems with brain structure such as hydrocephalus which is also known as "water on the brain." Although, this has yet to be proven because no gene has been directly linked to the disorder. With this all still a sort of mystery, there is one thing for sure that has been able to be proven. This is that autism is not a mental illness.

The prevalence of this disorder is not...