Research suggests a genetic defect as the cause of the disorder, which may be some form of autoimmune disease or degenerative disease of nerve cells in the brain.
An autistic person is not able to use language usefully and to process information it receives in a good manner. Half of the autistic people do not speak and those who do speak often repeat what they hear. The term autism refers to listless and reserved appearance, but the connotation of voluntary lack of interest is not suited.
Other characteristics of autism are an unequal development pattern, a fascination for mechanical objects, ritual reaction to incentives from the environment and a resistance against changes. Some autistic people develop qualities like mathematical skills at young age.
The cause, prognosis and treatment of autism are still objects of study. The best treatment is special education, which consists of education in small groups and tight supervision of their behavior. Treatment with medicine like fenfluramine and haloperidol is also investigated.
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