Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect many children, but they're still something of a mystery. Numerous studies have been done into this type of behavioral disorder, but the results don't always help to paint a clearer picture. A highly publicized study in 1997 linked autism to the measles vaccine, generating panic among parents. Yet since then, nine additional studies have disproven this connection. Digging through the clutter to find solid facts is no easy task, particularly when you're dealing with something as complex as one's behavior.

Though there's still much to be learned about ASD, we do know that it can be diagnosed as early as age two. Screenings at a child's 18-month and 24-month well-child visits can help identify autistic indicators early. We've also learned much about properly managing children with ASD. Parents who undergo a 24-week training course have shown better success rates dealing with disruptive autistic children. Though there's no cure for autism, symptoms often improve with behavioral therapy and medication. Antidepressants have mixed benefits for repetitive behavior symptoms and may offer an option for some individuals.

The hallmark of ASD is a difficulty with behavioral interactions. Children who suffer from autism don't play with others. They cannot interpret social cues and facial expressions and tend to avoid eye contact and isolate themselves. There's no way to prevent ASD, as it's caused by genetics, inheritance, and prenatal brain development. Understanding ASD better is the best way to equip yourself for dealing with children who suffer from autism. Take this quiz to test your knowledge and learn more about the mysteries behind ASD.






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