Can autism be cured?
No, it cannot be entirely cured, but can definitely be improved to a large extent. Where autism represents a disability, appropriate education and support can reduce or mitigate the adverse effects and children with autism can go on to fulfil their potential. Many individuals with autism may have particular abilities that are of huge benefit to society and may have superior technical, analytical or creative abilities.
What should I do if I suspect that something is wrong with my child?
Don't wait. Talk to your doctor immediately. Research has consistently shown that early diagnosis and intervention offer the best chances for improving function and maximising a child's progress and outcomes.
How is a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) different from other diagnoses?
Since the causes are not known, ASD diagnoses are based purely on observations or reports of behaviours. ASDs are not diseases; they are not contagious and are not yet treatable entirely through medication. The primary treatments are educational (e.g., teaching individuals with ASDs ways to do things that may not come as easily for them) and compensatory (e.g., helping individuals learn to use their strengths to make up for areas that are more difficult), as well as behavioral (e.g., helping individuals and families to minimise behaviors that interfere with daily living, such as tantrums or self-injury).
How young can a child be to receive a diagnosis of ASD?
With some children, symptoms are visible when they are 12 to 15 months, but most doctors will want to wait until a child is 18 to 24 months before giving a diagnosis. Diagnoses made under age 3 are less reliable, so it is important for children who receive diagnoses when they are very young to be re-evaluated each year, including measurement of changes in cognitive and language skills.