Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that can be detected at an early age of 6 months. The following article highlights the causes of this disorder in babies.
Autism is amongst the common developmental disorders in children. This disorder affects the normal development of the brain wherein the person cannot socialize and communicate effectively. Early detection of this condition in babies offers a wide range of treatment options to address the specific needs of the affected children.
Causes of autism in children are yet unknown to medical science. However, genetic predisposition and environmental factors are believed to be the prime causes. Genetic predisposition means that the susceptibility to develop the condition may be passed on from parents to children. Boys are found to be four times more likely to inherit this disorder than girls. Environmental factors that may trigger this condition include air pollution, or lead or mercury deposition in the body. Sometimes, the ingestion of a harmful substance by a mother during pregnancy may also cause this disorder in her babies. Incidentally, older parents are more likely to give birth to autistic children. Some studies performed on autistic people have shown abnormal features in several parts of the brain, indicating disturbances in the early brain development of the fetus within the mother’s womb.
In children, autism is very difficult to detect until the age of 3. However, vigilant parents may spot the symptoms in babies at a young age of 3 to 6 months. Many people sometimes mistake autism with mental retardation. Although, most autistic children with have a normal IQ, some children may be affected by mental retardation as well. Autistic babies may not seem any different from normal babies at a first glance. Although, it is true that all babies have their own developmental pace, some symptoms are just too difficult to miss. Some peculiar symptoms in infants at the age of 6 months to 2 years are:
- Autistic babies do not smile when smiled at.
- They do not make an eye contact, which is a common development by 6 months of age.
- They do not respond to their names or familiar sounds in spite of having a normal hearing.
- They do not babble by the age of 1 year.
- They seem least interested in people and surroundings and often concentrate on a single thing for a very long time.
- They do not cry for help or make basic demands.
- They show no feelings when talked at or cuddled.
- They do not reciprocate adult facial expressions and make no hand gestures.
- Often at times, a child shows normal development until the age of 1 or 2 years, and then suddenly loses all his social and emotional skills. He may also lose his ability to communicate. This is called regression.
Sometimes, doctors may underestimate the signs of autism in infants and treat them as normal developmental issues. In that case, parents should not hesitate to seek a second opinion.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.