Autism is treatable, and early medical/biomedical and behavioural/therapeutic intervention greatly improves the outcomes of children with ASDs.
Usually diagnosed before the age of three, a pattern of initial seemingly normal development, followed by a regression or loss of skills around 18 months, is common.
Very few children with autism have a history of autism in their families. A widely accepted hypothesis is that there is no one particular cause for autism, but rather a genetic predisposition to many things, including depression, alcoholism, OCD, etc.
These genes interact with the environment, which may include metals, viruses, antibiotics, toxins and other factors, which result in insult or injury to the gut/brain axis.
Reviewed by Dr Louise Lindenberg, MBChB (Stell), MFHom (UK). Integrative Medical Practitioner specialising in Disorders on the Autism Spectrum in children, Cape Town. February 2015.