Autism is made up of several groups of conditions that are often detected in early childhood. It is a condition that affects the brain and is often seen in 1 in 100 children in the world. The condition varies from person to person. While some may live independently, others may be dependent throughout their lifetime.

Autistic patients generally find it challenging to live in society. This is because their brain has been conditioned to function in a way that is not the norm. For this course, the family and society play a major role in dealing with people with them. Their care and support are very significant in determining the quality of life of these individuals.

In this post, you will learn the meaning of autism, the classifications, causes, symptoms, preventions, and some natural remedies for autism.

What Is Autism?

Autism is also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder {ASD}. It is a developmental disorder that affects the brain leading to difficulty in relating with others and learning. It is characterized by a limited and repetitive pattern of behavior involving a wide range of severity and symptoms, including problems with communicating with people and assimilating what they mean. It is often manifested during the first three years after birth.

Classification Of Autism

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition {DSM-5} published by the American Psychiatric Association {APA}, there are three classifications of autism. They range from the mildest to the most severe.

Before we dive into the classifications of Autism, we will take a look at the previous classification of autism that was used until 2013. They include:

Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s syndrome is known to be high functioning because the persons affected are intelligent, and smart, and have less severe symptoms than the others. Children with Asperger’s syndrome:

  1. Have at least an average level of intelligence
  2. Have the normal ability to speak a language
  3. They are also very talented or vast in specific areas such as mathematics, playing musical instruments, or singing.
  4. They find it difficult to socially relate with others
  5. They practice routines and rituals that are strictly followed
  6. When conveying a message, their ability to read and express bodily language and facial cues is altered
  7. They find it difficult to make eye contact

Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified {PDD-NOS}

PDD-NOS is a developmental disorder that shows mild symptoms. It is tagged Not Otherwise Specified because the symptoms shown don’t meet all the criteria for the diagnosis of autism. Children with PDD-NOS:

  1. Have at least an average level of intelligence
  2. Practice routines and rituals that are strictly followed
  3. Are either hypersensitive or have a very low sensitivity to light, taste, touch, and other stimuli
  4. Finds it difficult to communicate with people both verbally and nonverbally
  5. They find it difficult to fully understand people

Rett Syndrome

Rett syndrome is a developmental disorder that primarily affects girls. Children with Rett syndrome:

  1. Have symptoms beginning between 6 months and 18 months
  2. Have difficulty using the hands and performing fine motor skills such as writing, buttoning, and unbuttoning a shirt, etc.
  3. May find it difficult to speak, and may further lose the ability to speak
  4. Usually have an abnormally small head
  5. As they grow older may develop involuntary movements, develop an abnormal spinal curvature, have seizures, and experience other physical challenges.

Kanner’s Syndrome

Kanner’s syndrome is also known as a classic autistic disorder. When people think about children with autistic disorder, they usually picture those with Kanner’s syndrome. Children with Kanner’s syndrome:

  1. Have problems communicating with people
  2. Are hypersensitive to light, noise, touch, and other stimuli
  3. They show little or no interest in relating with others
  4. They find it difficult to understand what people are saying
  5. Show no interest in what is happening in their environment
  6. They may have anger issues.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

Childhood disintegrative disorder is also known as Heller’s syndrome, disintegrative psychosis, or dementia infantilism. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by sudden deterioration or reversal of developmental milestones that have been gathered over a few years of life. It occurs in children especially those that are 3 and 4 years of age. These developmental milestones that experience deterioration include social interaction, motor skills, cognitive ability, ability to communicate, ability to understand a language, playing skills, fecal and urinary continence, etc.

As we have earlier said, the classifications of autism mentioned above are no longer in use, new classifications were put in place by the American Psychiatric Association {APA}. This is because they wanted to eliminate controversies in the diagnosis of autism, thereby giving a more accurate diagnosis, they also want to be able to assess the level of severity to give immediate treatment and support services needed.

Currently, there are three levels of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and they are:

Level 1: Requires Support                                          

Children who are affected by the level one stage have mild symptoms but they still face challenges that require support. They majorly have problems with social interaction and find it difficult to communicate. They also find it challenging to read facial expressions, perform routines, and have issues with trying out new things. With the appropriate support, they can overcome some challenges.

Level 2: Requires Substantial Support

Children who are affected by the level two stage have more symptoms and they require more support than those that are in the stage 1 category. They find it more difficult to communicate both verbally and nonverbally, they find it more difficult socially interact, and they perform more narrow routines and rituals.

Level 3: Requires Very Substantial Support

Children who are affected by the level three stage experience the most severe form of autism. They find it difficult to perform activities of daily living on their own. They need the most support from family, friends, and health workers.  usually try to relate socially, and if at all, it is very rare. They find it extremely difficult to adapt to change.

Causes Of Autism

There is no known cause of autism. However, the environment and genetics may contribute to it.

Risk Factors For Autism

Risk Factors For Autism

Risk Factors For Autism

The following are some of the risk factors that predispose a child to autism:


Male children have a higher chance of developing autism than female children.


A person with a family history of autism has a higher chance of developing the condition that those that don’t.

Premature babies

Babies that are born overly premature have a higher risk of having autism than those that are up to term.  Babies born between 25 and 30 weeks of pregnancy have a greater risk.

Low Birth Weight

Low birth weight can also contribute to the chances of having autism.

Old Age

When mothers conceive at an old age, particularly those that are 35 years and above, they have a higher chance of having autism.

Short Birth Space

When the space between

When the space between the birth of a baby and the previous birth is less than 18 months, there is an increase in the chance of giving birth to a baby with autism.

Other Medical Condition

Other medical conditions can also contribute to autism. These conditions include Down syndrome, Rett syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, etc.

Symptoms Of Autism

The following are some of the general symptoms of autism:

  1. Inability to understand and create special expressions
  2. Difficulty in recognizing people’s emotions
  3. They try to avoid eye contact
  4. They are withdrawn and love to be by themselves
  5. They play with things the same way every time and do not change the order of things
  6. Abnormal mood things, emotional outbursts, anger issues, and do not like to be comforted when angry
  7. They find it difficult to express themselves and how they feel
  8. They feel anxious, scared, and easily stressed
  9. They have poor motor skills
  10. They perform repetitive body movements
  11. They have poor or delayed learning ability
  12. They are either extremely sensitive or have a very low sensitivity to stimuli such as touch, light, taste, smell, color, sound, etc.
  13. They have poor coordination
  14. They have a specific interest

Prevention Of Autism

Since the cause of autism is unknown, there is also no known way of preventing the disorder. However, you can reduce your chances of giving birth to a child with autism by living a healthy lifestyle which includes the following:

Avoid Alcohol

While pregnant, it is very important to do away with alcohol. This is because when you drink alcohol while pregnant, you raise your chances of giving birth to both physically and mentally challenged babies such as children with alcohol spectrum disorders, autism, low birth weight, etc.  Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can also lead to stillbirth and miscarriages. It is therefore important to do away with alcohol.

Use Only Prescribed Medications

Avoid using any drug that has not been prescribed by your doctor during pregnancy. This is because some drugs are contraindicated for pregnant women, and using them will lead to complications for the unborn child.

Have Adequate Space In-between Pregnancies

Since studies have shown that there is a link between the time interval of the birth of the previous child and the conception of another, and autism; it is important to leave at least a space of 18 months before conceiving another baby.

Avoid Exposure To Air Pollution

As a pregnant woman, air pollution should be avoided. Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of having autism twice that of those that don’t have such exposure.

Natural Remedies For Autism

Natural Remedies For Autism

Natural Remedies For Autism

The following are some of the natural remedies that can help with autism:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

People with autism are known to perform routine activities and not want to try out new things. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce this symptom. They also help to generally develop brain functions. Therefore, in autism, these underdeveloped brain functions will improve once omega-3 fatty acids foods are included in their diet. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish {mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines, etc.}, walnuts, eggs, flaxseed, soybeans, and so on.

Beware of Gluten and Casein Diet

Gluten is a protein {prolamins} that is present in some grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Casein is a protein found in some dietary products. A person suffering from autism should avoid these foods as they cause inflammation in the gut, and causes allergic reactions. This in turn worsens the symptoms.

Have A Good Rest

When a person with autism does not have a good rest, they tend to withdraw more from people, are easily angered, and they love to perform more routine activities. Sleeping especially is one of the major challenges they face due to insufficient production of melatonin, hypersensitivity to stimuli, anxiety, and so on. It is important to adopt measures that will make your child fall asleep easily. Some of these measures include ensuring that the T.V is switched off, taking your child to the bathroom, brushing their teeth, taking their bath, and going to the bedroom. While in the bedroom, ensure that the light in the room is dim or dark, quiet, and peaceful.

Practice Relaxation Technique

Some children with autism have anxiety problems. It is important to work with approaches that can help to calm and soothe them.  Some of these techniques include practicing yoga, physical exercises, deep breathing, putting on weighted clothing, deep pressure massage, etc. This eases tension and helps them to relax well.

Tablet Computer Use

Children with autism often find it difficult to communicate and speak. Speech-generating devices such as iPad can be used to improve this. This can be achieved by installing applications that will aid their learning process without being distracted by people. Using tabs can also improve their motor skills and help them in performing activities such as drawing.

Final Thoughts

The above measures should reduce and help in improving the symptoms felt. It should be noted that these remedies cannot eliminate the disorder, but they can help live a more comfortable life. However, if the natural remedies for autism do not improve the symptoms felt, it is important to report to your doctor for expert management.

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