Autism is a complex disorder that affects children, teens, and adults. Autism is a group of developmental disorders that cause social, communication, behavioral, and cognitive impairments. According to data from the WHO, the condition affects one in 100 children worldwide.
A person with autism may struggle with verbal and non-verbal communication and learning new skills. The exact cause of autism remains unknown. However, many factors can contribute to the development of this condition in children, such as genetics or exposure to certain substances during pregnancy.
What Is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disorder. It can pose challenges in a child’s overall development, from communication and social interaction to behavior. Symptoms of autism usually appear before age three and are present in early childhood. Autism usually lasts throughout a person’s life.
Autism is not an emotional disorder. It’s a neurobiological disorder. The term “autism spectrum” refers to a range of symptoms and levels of impairment that may be part of this condition.
The best way to diagnose autism is by observing whether your child has specific behaviors or characteristics related to the condition over time.
What Are the Symptoms of Autism?
Many people who have autism struggle with the following symptoms:
- Difficulty communicating, including delayed or absent speech
- Difficulties interacting with others, such as not making eye contact, which also includes a reduced sense of humor and facial expressions
- Repetitive behaviors like rocking or hand flapping indicate sensory processing issues
- Difficulties with social interactions
- Failure to respond to his or her name as if the child does not hear you
- Lack of facial expression
Causes of Autism
Many things may cause the development of autism. Here are the most common and well-known causes of autism.
Prenatal Exposure to Acetaminophen Can be a Cause of Autism
Acetaminophen is a pain reliever that’s found in many over-the-counter medications. It’s not just the active ingredient in Tylenol. It’s also used in Pepto-Bismol, NyQuil, and many other products to help fight fever and relieve pain. Acetaminophen exposure can cause autism, which is why pregnant women are advised to avoid taking them.
Children exposed to acetaminophen before birth are at risk for developing autism or having brain development issues, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Researchers found that mothers who took high doses of the drug during pregnancy gave birth to children who were more likely than those who didn’t take any medication with acetaminophen during pregnancy to have children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
After the study, many women who took Tylenol for pain relief during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with increased autism risk filed lawsuits against manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuits allege that manufacturers failed to warn the mothers of the dangerous consequences of consuming the medication.
The lawsuit is still accepting more claims. Hence, if you or a loved one was using Tylenol during pregnancy, you can file a case with the help of an experienced lawyer. The attorney will help you get acquainted with the Tylenol autism lawsuit process and collect evidence to help back your claim.
Once you have filed the lawsuit and won it, the manufacturer will offer compensation for the medical expenses on your child and other sufferings you or your child have faced due to the problems.
Some Causes Are Genetic
There are several genetic causes of autism, but one that is becoming increasingly clear is that it has a strong hereditary component. This means some families have a higher risk of having children with autism than others, which can be traced back to their parents. Some genes are more likely to be involved in autism than others, and these genes tend to be passed down from either parent.
The exact way these genes lead to an increased risk for the disorder isn’t yet known. It may have something to do with how they interact with other factors during fetal or childhood development, but it’s a significant clue in understanding what causes this complex disorder.
A recent meta-analysis of genetic factors in the development of autism also shows that Vitamin D receptors in genes can also cause autism. The study shows that Vitamin D is vital for brain development and immunological modulation. Hence, if Vitamin D receptors are not functioning appropriately due to gene structure, they can lead to autism.
Some Causes Are Environmental
While the exact causes of autism are still unknown, many researchers believe that environmental factors play a role. Environmental causes include in-utero exposure to chemicals and other toxins and postnatal exposures.
Some Causes Are Unknown
There is no one known cause of autism. Both genetic and environmental factors likely play a role in its development.
Some studies have shown that if one identical twin has autism, the other twin is more likely to have autism than fraternal twins. This suggests that there are some genetic components to autism. There are several possible genetic causes of autism, such as having an extra copy of chromosome 15 or problems with genes on chromosome 7.
However, many cases of autism have no known genetic cause, meaning it isn’t inherited from family members. Since the exact cause is unknown, many studies are currently going on to determine the cause.
For example, Stanford University has over 10 active programs carried out to understand the causes, development, and treatment of autism. If you are someone who developed autism, you can participate in these studies and help researchers find more information about it.
If you are concerned about your child’s development, it’s essential to consult a doctor. A pediatrician or neurologist can help you understand whether the symptoms fit with autism and, if so, what therapies might be helpful.
While some people who have autism can live entirely on their own without assistance as an adult, others require lifelong care and support from parents and family members who will need guidance from medical professionals on how best to provide that assistance.
As we’ve seen, there are many different causes of autism. Some of these may be genetic, while others can be environmental. Most cases are likely due to a combination of factors. In some cases, the cause is unknown. However, there is no doubt that more research is needed on this topic as it continues to affect families worldwide.