Can autistic people lead a normal life?
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that occurs in children, adolescents, and adults. It is characterized by a complete withdrawal (isolation) into one's own world of experience and thoughts, while at the same time limited contact with the outside world. An autistic person is often additionally impaired in his language development and communication and shows stereotypical behavior patterns (behavior that is repeated over and over again). He is also very limited in his activities and interests. Some of those affected are able to lead a largely normal life, while others are dependent on help for their entire life.
There are different forms of autism. Early childhood autism (Kanner syndrome), Asperger's syndrome and atypical autism. (More about this on the subject of symptoms)
The symptoms of autism can vary widely. This is how the different forms of autism differ. However, there are typical autism symptoms that all autistic people, more or less pronounced, show. This includes that they isolate themselves from the environment and that they have problems building interpersonal relationships. They often seem strange and aloof to other people. Autistic people are only able to develop lasting relationships with other people to a limited extent or not at all. It is typical that they avoid eye contact or body contact.
They also show stereotypical movements and behaviors, as well as disturbed communication and language.
Rituals are very important to autistic children. Every day has to run according to a certain pattern, if this rhythm is disrupted, autistic people often react anxious, angry or aggressive.
Kanner syndrome can be seen in babies and toddlers. This shape is one of the most popular shapes. Children with early childhood autism do not look at other people or seek physical contact with their parents. It seems as if the fellow human beings do not even exist. They also have very limited interests and follow their stereotypes. Many of the people with early childhood autism are mentally challenged and never develop meaningful language. They hardly use facial expressions and gestures and there is little expression of emotion in their voice. Many of those affected need lifelong support.
And atypical autism is similar to early childhood autism, but only occurs later or to a lesser extent.
Asperger's Syndrome is a milder autistic disorder. It usually shows up in kindergarten or school children. The language is developed without any particular restrictions; they often use their language to talk to themselves rather than addressing other people. Relationships with other people are disturbed, but not as profound as in early childhood autism. Asperger's autist can find it difficult to empathize with other people's emotions and thoughts. Most of those affected are average or above average intelligent and have special fields of interest. Those affected can usually lead an independent life and exercise a job (in which they do not have so much to do with other people).
The causes of autistic syndromes are not clearly understood. It is assumed that various factors contribute to the development, such as heredity, biochemical changes in the brain metabolism (dopamine, seretonin), disruption of brain development (the limbic system shows changes, is responsible for social behavior), but intestinal infections can also trigger the onset of the Favor disease.
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