What Are Aspergers And Autism?
At the time of writing, 1 in 110 children, and 1 in 70 boys are now considered to be “sufferers” of autism, and many of our most successful and talented people are reckoned to be “sufferers” too and the numbers are increasing rapidly.
Although the behaviors known as Asperger syndrome were first described in the 1940s, the diagnosis was not officially recognized until 1994 and children that now get labeled as ‘suffering’ from Asperger’s Syndrome would previously have received the very positive label of being intellectually gifted just a few years ago.
Famous people that are thought to be “sufferers” include, Bill Gates who is one of the top ten wealthiest people in the world (and he doesn’t seem to be suffering) and Steven Spielberg (is he suffering?) to mention just two and the list goes on and on.
And names from the past include such people as Shakespeare, Isaac Newton and Einstein who certainly made major contributions to our planet.
What are the tell-tale signs?
Limited but intense range of interests, especially specific intellectual areas.
Difficulty in social relationships, especially responding appropriately to others.
Problems communicating, such as difficulty making conversation or understanding others.
Given the incredibly high number of people that are now reckoned to suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, and the enormous contribution that many of them have made and are presently making, I wonder how society should be looking at them.
Are they sick, or simply much more intelligent and focused?
Should “sufferers” be looked down upon or considered geniuses?
What Are Thought To Be The Causes Of Autism?
Right now, there is no known single cause for autism, but in the research community it is generally believed that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function.
Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism versus in neurotypical children.
Researchers continue to investigate a number of theories, including the links among heredity, genetics and medical problems.
Autism tends to occur more frequently than is presently expected among individuals who have certain medical conditions, including Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome, and untreated phenylketonuria (PKU).
And some harmful substances ingested during pregnancy also have been associated with an increased risk of autism.
Research indicates other factors besides the genetic component are contributing to the rise in increasing occurrence of autism, such as environmental toxins (e.g. heavy metals such as mercury), which are more prevalent in our environment than in the past.
And it seems, that those with autism (or those at risk) might be especially vulnerable, because their ability to metabolize and detoxify these exposures can be compromised.