Autism: An Enigmatic Condition

What is it to be Autistic

In the Hollywood film Rain Man, Raymond Babbitt is shown to be a man imprisoned in his own world but with an uncanny and incredible ability to calculate numbersenough to make a small fortune for his hustler brother in Las Vegas. Raymond Babbitt, played by Dustin, sufficiently Hoffman, is autistic.

Autistic or autism... this is such an ‘enigmatic’ condition... it has had experts mystified for generations. Autism has been quite a recent term but this disorder is not a recent one. Yet identification of this has not been easy and as people read more and more about it, they come to understand that autism is so very often mistaken or confused with other more common disorders.

What actually is autism, one may ask

This is a developmental disability that affects language and communication and is four times more common in males than females. It is restricted not only to children. Autism is known to affect adults too though this is not so common.

Autism is a spectrum disorder – that is varying in terms of severity as far as its effect is concerned. It is usually noticed in early childhood – as early as two years of age – and parents get wary as they notice a sudden change in their child’s language and social skills.

What are the symptoms of an autistic child

Well, the description of classical autism in childhood has usually portrayed a child severely withdrawn from the world. Typical symptoms would include a child showing delays and impairments in terms of language and social skills although cognitive abilities may be present; abnormal or heightened responses and sensitivity to sensations like sight, hearing, touch and smell; abnormal ways of relating to people, objects and events.

Don’t ignore signs of autism

A recent research has pointed out parents can see tell-tale signs as early as two years before the child is actually diagnosed with the condition. Simple acts, like the way babies play with toys can be a pointer to the risk of autism. Researchers say that those babies, who showed a tendency to spin or rotate toys more than other babies, should put the parents on guard. These babies are likely to be later diagnosed with autism. Other tell-tale signs would be staring hard at objects or looking at them out of the corner of their eyes.

Autistic children are no ordinary children and though handling them would require much expertise, yet many of them are exceptionally gifted and show remarkable qualities from a very early age. Extraordinary abilities in the field of music, art and science are some examples of autistic geniuses. Some believe today that even Einstein was autistic. Other famous personalities thought as being autistic are Wolfgang Mozart, Lewis Carroll, George Orwell, Vincent van Gogh, Adolf Hitler, Michelangelo and more.

Like Dr. Temple Grandin, one of the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism, put it: "A little bit of autism genes may provide an intellectual advantage and too much of the genetic may cause a severe case of autism."