Thursday, February 19, 2009

Autism is a severe developmental disorder that begins at birth or within the first two-and-a-half years of life. Most autistic children are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time engaged in puzzling and disturbing behaviors which are markedly different from those of typical children. Dr. Edward Hill discusses autism in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Autism is a brain disorder that causes poor development of language and social skills. People with autism may also have mental retardation, seizures or mental disorders. About one-third will be able to achieve some degree of independent living as adults.

No one knows for sure what causes autism. Early detection can improve the eventual outcome. Your doctor may want to screen for autism if your child:

* is not babbling by 12 months of age.

* doesnít point or make other gestures by 12 months of age.

* doesnít use single words by 16 months of age.

* doesnít use two-word phrases by 24 months of age.

* seems to have lost a skill he or she had before.

There are different treatments for autism. Traditional treatments use positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement in settings designed to help with learning.

No medicine has yet been proven to treat autism, but some medicines may help treat a child with seizures, hyperactivity or depression.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.