There are multiple different types of autism.
- There are many different types of autism. Some people refer to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as just one disorder, but it’s actually an umbrella term for a variety of distinct subtypes.
- Autism is a developmental disorder. While some developmental disorders can be corrected or improved through medication or physical therapy, ASD does not have treatments that will heal or cure it—although researchers are working on developing potential therapies that might address the symptoms of ASD in the future.
- Autism is genetic. Genetic mutations and variations in genes can cause autism, and these mutations can pass from parents to their children. However, genetics aren’t the whole story: while autism is more likely to occur if one parent has it, factors such as environmental influences also play a role in the development of autism spectrum disorders.
- Autism is a neurological disorder. It affects how the brain develops and functions, which causes unique challenges and differences in behavior compared with other individuals who do not have ASD.
One type is called Rett Syndrome, which is caused by a mutation on the X chromosome.
Rett Syndrome is a rare genetic condition that affects the nervous system. It usually occurs in girls and usually presents with developmental delays and speech problems. Symptoms of Rett Syndrome may present in early childhood, but they often worsen over time.
Another type is Fragile X syndrome, which is caused by a mutation on the X chromosome.
Another condition that can cause autism symptoms is Fragile X syndrome. While it’s more common in boys than girls, it can affect both sexes and be caused by a mutation on the X chromosome. In fact, Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability and the most common known cause of autism or autism spectrum disorders.
The most common types of autism have no identifiable cause.
Autism is a heterogeneous disorder; it’s caused by genetic factors and environmental factors. In fact, there are several genetic mutations that cause autism, and the most common type of autism has no identifiable cause. It is called idiopathic autism. This means that many children with autism have a family history of autism.
Usually autism presents with developmental delays and speech problems.
“Autism” is a catchall term for a group of disorders called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). People with ASD have certain difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, repetitive behaviors and sensory sensitivity. ASD can range from mild to severe, depending on the number of symptoms and their level of functioning.
Most children with ASD have developmental delays or speech problems. Children whose speech is delayed may eventually develop the ability to speak in full sentences but will still have trouble holding conversations. Kids with ASD may also have limited interests or repeat certain behaviors. These symptoms usually appear by age 3; however, parents may notice signs in infants as young as 6 months old that their child doesn’t respond normally to sounds, smiles or other facial expressions.
Many treatments for autism are not approved by the FDA.
Many treatments for autism are not approved by the FDA. Why?
- Treatment hasn’t been tested in clinical trials. If the drug has not been tested in clinical trials, it cannot be approved by the FDA.
- Treatment was tested in clinical trials and found to be ineffective. If a treatment has been tested in clinical trials, but it was found to be ineffective, then it will not be approved by the FDA as an effective treatment for autism.
- Treatment was tested and found to be unsafe. If a treatment was shown to cause more harm than help (i.e., side effects outweigh benefits), then it will not be approved as a safe treatment for autism.
However, there is a safe and effective treatment at this time for children with Fragile X syndrome.
However, there is a safe and effective treatment at this time for children with Fragile X syndrome. The drug, called fenobam, is FDA-approved and in the final stages of additional testing that will allow it to be marketed to doctors and patients.
This medication reduces withdrawal behavior and improves attention span in boys with Fragile X syndrome. It could also reduce behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) caused by Fragile X syndrome.
Fragile X syndrome is a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, behavior problems and other medical issues like seizures. It’s often the most common single gene cause of ASD.
Children with fragile X syndrome show improvements from cognitive training which helps manage development and life skills tasks.
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Some studies also test devices that use light exposure as a mode of treatment for fragile X syndrome to help improve memory and executive function.
Devices that utilize light exposure as a mode of treatment for fragile X syndrome to help improve memory and executive function are also being tested in some studies.
Clinical trials can help to improve the quality of life for individuals on the autism spectrum
Clinical trials are a common method used by doctors and researchers to test different treatments and therapies. You’ve likely seen a lot of news coverage on clinical trials in recent months as doctors have been racing to find new and effective ways of treating COVID-19.
While you may not see as many headlines about autism clinical trials, they play an equally important role in determining the best treatments for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).