Question 1: What is the reason for autism?
The most up-to-date theory suggests that individuals with ASD have too many connections, or synapses, in their neural network, or brain. When young children first learn they create a connection for every single experience they have. As they get older, they start to group similar experiences, pruning or trimming down excess connections and making the network more efficient, creating super-fast highways for information. The research suggests that, without intervention, pruning does not occur for children with autism and the network continues to make new connections for every single experience in life, creating a traffic jam in the network - information is not easily accessed, and creates confusion for the individual.
Question 2. Is there any cure for autism?
Evidence suggests that ASD is partly genetic, and therefore is not curable - an individual will always have that genetic make-up. Parents and caregivers should be wary of any therapy that claim to 'cure' ASD - the equivalent of this would be taking a pill to change your hair or eye colour!
The newest research suggests, however, that ABA and Early Intensive Behavioural Interventions actually teaches the brain how to prune and run more efficiently, an exciting advance for all in the field.
Question 3: Does autism cure completely?
As an individual learns to communicate more effectively and interact socially through effective teaching, they may lose the behavioural symptoms that created their diagnosis, making it appear as if they no longer have autism. This is also affected by updating and changing of professional diagnostic criteria, such as the recent removal of Asperger's Syndrome by the DSM V (Disagnostic and Statistical Manual).
However, as a genetic trait, there is no cure for autism. Through early, consistent and good quality teaching and intervention, such as that provided by a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA), individuals with ASD have the best chance possible to reduce behavioural excesses and increase appropriate functioning skills to live normally in society.
Question 4: Is there any medicine/remedy for autism?
As noted above, there is no traditional medicine for autism, treatment comes in the form of therapy.
It should be noted that individuals with ASD have a higher probability of being diagnosed with another condition. Some of these co-morbid diagnosis may be managed medically, such as seizure disorder, food allergies or ADHD, to improve the overall quality of life. Even common childhood ailments such as a cold or a toothache may be missed due to different communicative abilities.
It is important to have a good relationship with an experienced medical doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Question 5: What is the future for a child with autism?
As always, we refer to the research in answering this question. Numerous studies have shown - and continue to show - that the best outcomes in terms of IQ, adaptive functioning and communication are achieved through good quality, early, intensive behavioural intervention, such as that provided by a BCBA.
Question 6. Can autistic people be able to lead a normal life like others?
That depends on your definition of normal! Have a look at this list of famous individuals with ASD, which includes actors, singers, software developers and a senior university lecturer. In the words of Maya Angelou, a famous American poet,
"If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be"