SINOUÉ Sinoué logo

Autism spectrum disorder

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and possible care and accompaniments.

Autism spectrum disorder - definition and symptoms

Autism spectrum disorders – definitions

Autism spectrum disorder, more commonly known as autism, is one of the pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) that appear in early childhood, usually before the age of 3.
Although symptoms and severity vary, all of these disorders affect the child’s or adult’s overall ability to communicate and interact with other people and their environment.

Expressions of autism spectrum disorder

In individuals with autism, there are difficulties in three areas of their development: social interactions, language and behaviour. The visibility of these difficulties is higher or lower, depending on the individual. An individual can show signs of autism in their first years of existence.
We can find in children with autism spectrum disorders:

  • difficulty decoding emotional expressions (knowing if someone is sad) and difficulty interpreting the intentions of others.

  • difficulty expressing emotions, feelings (it is sometimes difficult for those around you to know if the child is in pain, for example).

  • a preference to play alone, to isolate oneself, an inability to make friends of one’s age.

These children may also experience delays in language development (begins to speak after two years).
People with Autism Spectrum Disorder may also exhibit stereotypies (repetitive movements) such as rocking, clapping, or spinning. They can also experience a high dependence on daily routines and rituals, as well as sensory hypersensitivity (sounds, textures, colours, light …). Subjects with autism spectrum disorders may also have very specific interests in subjects or objects.
Finally, they can sometimes experience tantrums and act aggressively against themselves or others.
It is important to note that the expression of these disorders can vary greatly from one individual to another

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - key figures and data

It is estimated that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affects around 1 in 100 births. There are 650,000 people with autism in France. Boys are apparently more affected than girls (3 to 1), but some associations and specialists claim that this imbalance is explained by a lack of diagnosis in female subjects who would be better able to mask their difficulties by mimicry.
Half of the autistic subjects present an intellectual handicap (IQ less than 70). It is estimated that in France, 80% of children with autism spectrum disorders are not in school.

Autism spectrum disorders - risk factors

The causes of autism are still unknown. Like the majority of pervasive developmental disorders, genetic and environmental factors could influence the development of the subject’s brain before and after birth, and cause these disorders.

Several genes are thought to be involved in the development of autism in a child. These are thought to play a role in fetal brain development. There may be genetic predispositions that may increase a child’s risk of developing autism.

It also seems that exposure to toxic substances before or after birth, or even complications during childbirth, could favour the onset of these disorders.

What supports for people with autism?

Since autism is not a mental illness, there is no cure for it. A combination of psychotherapies and interventions can help alleviate the learning and developmental difficulties of the subject.

A diagnosis made before school age seems to allow better development of the autistic child.

A wide range of tailor-made measures and support are sometimes necessary to allow an autistic individual to live safely, on a daily basis.