No single cause of autism has been identified so far. However, the developmental disorder may be due to several different causes. Years ago, parental practices were largely thought to cause autism; this has now been disproved. Today, combinations of genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role in causing autism; several genes have been discovered that are connected to autism.
There has been a great deal of discussion and controversy over whether or not some vaccinations cause autism, especially those for the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, and vaccinations that contain the preservative thimerosal. However, there has been no conclusive evidence showing this.
Possible causes of autism include:
Autism usually begins before the age of 3, and affects anywhere from 3 to 6 children for every 1000 children in the US. It affects people across ethnic lines. However, autism disproportionately affects males: for every 1 girl who is diagnosed with autism, 4 boys are diagnosed. Additionally, conditions statistically more likely for the development of autism include the following:
Because the symptoms of autism can vary in intensity and type, it's important to become aware of the signs and symptoms of autism, especially during a child's early years. This is even more important, if a parent or sibling has been diagnosed with autism. To get an autism symptoms checklist, continue reading our next section on Autism Symptoms now.