Autism manifests within the first 5 years of life and tends to persist into adolescence and adulthood. People with autism may share a triad of core symptoms:
- social and response delay
- Limited or absent verbal communication
- Restricted patterns of interests and activities carried out repetitively
Many individuals with autism can suffer from co-occurring comorbidities such as epilepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sleep disorders and gastrointestinal disorders. The developmental age may differ across different ages of individuals with autism. Individuals with autism may be involved in therapies in order to work on social skill, communication, or certain behaviors in order to live a happier and healthier lifestyle.
Autism is much more prevalent in males than females (the ratio males: females = 5: 1) and its prevalence has increased dramatically in the last decades diagnosing 1 in 160 children worldwide. Factors that may contribute to autism include genetics and the environment. Genetic factors have been found only in about 30% of patients. For all the remaining, scientific evidences suggest an interaction of genetic and environmental factors still to deepen. Among environmental factors, great attention is given to gut microbiota since an abnormal intestinal flora that may affect the central nervous system, has been found in individuals with autism.
An effective cure for ASD is not available but physical and psychosocial interventions, requiring a range of integrated services, are needed and early diagnosis and treatment leads to positive outcomes later in life