Although the specific cause of autism is not actually known, there have been many studies on different causes and the reasons why they may cause autism to occur.
Some of these studies show that people may be genetically disposed to contracting autism, meaning that if one or both parents had it, their children are more likely to get it as well. It is believed that there will be abnormalities in a baby’s brain, which cause it to be disrupted while the baby is still growing in the mother’s womb.
Children who have autism have problems with the timing in which their brain grows. Early on, their brains grow bigger and faster than the brains of healthy children, but as they get older, their brains’ growth slows down.
There are two ways to describe the onset of Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The first way is idiopathic autism, when there doesn’t appear to be any specific cause for the disease.
Secondary ASD occurs when either an environmental element or a particular medical condition that’s thought to increase the chances of contracting ASD is identified in a person. Approximately 90% of cases fall into the first category. The risk factors for contracting autism fall into five groups:
Genes – Specific gene mutations from a parent can make a child more susceptible to developing autism. Brothers and sisters also have a higher risk. For example, both twins would sometimes have autism.
Environmental causes – While the baby is still in the womb, it could be exposed to elements that can trigger autism. One theory is that a person may be vulnerable to ASD, but may only get it if triggered by an environmental factor. As an example, if the mother drinks alcohol or takes certain drugs during her pregnancy, that could trigger autism.
Neurological elements – Issues with the way in which the nervous system and the brain develop may increase the risk of autism. For example, connections between the limbic system, the amygdala and the cerebral cortex could get scrambled or over-connected.
This may explain why people with autism prefer routines and react badly if such routines are broken for any reason. They may also have altered responses to their senses of taste, smell and sound, and potentially like things that others would consider to be boring, such as reading a train timetable.
Psychological triggers – People with autism could think in specific ways that actually cause symptoms to occur. Most healthy children have a full comprehension of “theory of mind” (an ability to understand the mental states of other people) by the time they’re four years old. On the other hand, children with ASD have a minimal understanding of the theory. They can’t interact with others like healthy children do. They become lost in detail and never see a bigger picture.
Other health issues – Some health conditions can put babies in a higher risk category for autism. These include: tuberculosis, muscular dystrophy, the Down syndrome, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability and infantile spasms, just to name a few.
Once you know the causes, you will be able to avoid or minimize the issues that are usually associated with autism.