Autism Conditions and Causes

What Causes Autism in Children?

What Causes Autism in Children?

Given the limits of our neurological understanding of autism, it is impossible to point to a single cause of autism. It appears that there are many causes, and research continues. Recent research in neuroanatomy has indicated abnormalities in the brains of individuals with autism.

It is still unknown why these areas of the brain develop differently in individuals with autism.

Studies have shown a genetic correlation to autism in some individuals. Other possible causal factors, such as birth trauma, vaccine reactions and prenatal viruses, have also been associated with autism. In short, anything that causes the central nervous system to develop abnormally may cause autism.

Because of a lack of specific information about what causes this syndrome, some people may be distracted from seeking effective interventions.

(*NOTE: Using EEG Biofeedback, Sensory Integration Training, Auditory Integration Training, and Sound Therapy techniques that are customized for each patient's individual needs, The Attention & Achievement Center has produced significant improvements in the lives of patients with autism and autistic spectrum disorders. Request an appointment if you wish to learn more.)


What Are the Signs Of Autism?

When an infant or toddler:

  • does not cuddle or respond to affection and touching.
  • does not make eye contact.
  • appears to be unable to communicate.
  • displays persistent failure to develop two-way social relationships in any situation.
  • does not show a preference for parents over other adults.
  • does not develop friendships with other children.
  • has poor language skills; or nonexistent ones.
  • shows unusual, extreme responses to objects – either avoidance or preoccupation.
  • finds moving objects, such as a fan, hold great fascination.
  • may form an unusual attachment to odd objects such as a paper or rubber band.


The symptoms of autism range from mild to severe. Although symptoms of the disorder sometimes can be seen in early infancy, the condition may appear after months of normal development. About 7 in every 10 children and adolescents with autism, also have mental retardation or other problems with their brain function or structure.


Is it autism or is my child being _____?

When trying to address specific behaviors, a good place to start is to take into consideration how these behaviors may be the result of the neurological impairments that are associated with autism. From this perspective, parents and teachers can then begin to examine their student’s sensory environment for things that may be causing problematic behaviors.

Things such as fire alarms and school bells may be causing physical pain for someone with autism who has a high degree of sensitivity to high-pitched sounds. Other possible causes of problematic behaviors could be uncomfortable or ill fitting clothes that a student may be asked to wear.


How Common Is Autism in Children?

Recent studies estimate that as many as 14 children out of 10,000 may have autism or a related condition. About 125,000 Americans are affected by these disorders, and nearly 4,000 families across the country have two or more children with autism. Three times as many boys than girls have autism.


What is different about my child's sensory systems?

Children with autism may be hyposensitive or hypersensitive in their responses to various sensory inputs. Being hyposensitive may include a high degree of tolerance to pain. This circumstance can be dangerous and should always be considered when children with autism are working around hot surfaces or objects.

Other children with autism may be hypersensitive to pain or refuse to wear anything but loose fitting, soft clothing. This circumstance is often referred to as tactile defensiveness and should be considered whenever touching a child with autism.


If I have one child with autism, what are the chances of having another?

Current data suggest that the likelihood of having a child with autism, if the biological parents already have one child with autism, is at least 1/20. This rate may be an underestimate, given that many families with one autistic child will stop having children due to stress or the fear of having another child with the disorder.


Where can a parent get help with their autistic child?

Contact Mind Builders for a thorough autism assessment and learn about the options that can improve the life of your child and the lives of those who love them.  Call 925-837-1100 or 408-740-3100 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For additional information, call 
Mind Builders at 925-837-1100 or 408-740-3100

Offices in San Ramon and Los Gatos

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