Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that affects the way people communicate, interact with others, and participate in social situations. Autism can cause problems in many areas of life including daily living skills, academics, work, or other self-care tasks. The causes of autism are not known but research suggests it is likely caused by an interaction between genes and environmental factors. There are treatments available for autism to help improve communication skills and reduce repetitive behaviours.
The following are some potential causes of autism according to research studies
- Genes – mutations in certain genes may increase the risk
- Environmental factors – exposure to heavy metals or pesticides during pregnancy could affect a child’s development
- Brain structure – an overgrowth of tissue on the surface of brain called cortex can lead to symptoms associated with autism
- Maternal age – older mothers have a higher chance of having autistic children than younger mothers do
- Complications during birth- babies born prematurely or underweight at the time of birth are more likely to develop autism later in life because their brains were not fully developed when they entered the outside world.