Frequently Asked Questions
Q Who is affected by conditions on the autistic spectrum ?
A There are over 500,000 people in the U.K. affected by autism. One child in every 100 will be affected by Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder ( A.D.D. ) or Attention Deficit – Hyper-activity Disorder ( A.D.H.D. ) . These conditions appear to affect more males than females ( approx 4 to 1 ).
Q What causes autism ?
A This is still being investigated, but research suggests genetic and environmental factors may account for changes in brain development.
Q Is autism on the increase ?
A Autism has only relatively recently been properly recognized and diagnosed ( since the 60s and 70s ). Due to the broadening of diagnostic practices, autism has become much more widely recognized of late. Research is taking place to identify exactlyhow many people in the U.K. are living with autism.
Q Is autism linked to criminal behaviour ?
A There is no established link. Because of social difficulties, autistic people can be much more vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Also a very small number can get into trouble with the law through anxiety leading to challenging behaviour, or through impaired social understanding.
Q Can autism be cured ?
A No — autism is a life long condition. But there are a range of methods of enabling and assisting learning and development. If you are contemplating alternative medicine please have a look at Treatments & Therapies under the heading Can autism be cured?
Q Is autism caused by the M.M.R. Vaccine ?
A This is a sensitive subject but we want to state that there is no evidence linking autism to a child having inoculations which include M.M.R.
See : Wikipaedia Official summary The science
Q I have heard of Autism and Aspergers Syndrome, but what is A.D.H.D. ?
A The rather less well known disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a biological, brain based condition, which is caused by a minor difference of fine tuning in the normal brain. A.D.H.D. presents in two ways, impulsive, poorly self monitored behaviour, (hyperactive, impulsive behaviour) and learning difficulties (attention deficit-learning weakness). A child may present with one of these in isolation but most A.D.H.D. children will have both. These weaknesses are not exclusive to A.D.H.D. they can occur in all of us, but to a much lesser extent. To qualify for a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. the child must be significantly out of step with others of the same level of development and standard of parenting. The cut–off point between a normal, but difficult temperament and A.D.H.D. requires six out of nine difficult behaviours should be found to be present. The child with four to five of these difficult behaviours may not fit the criteria, but they will still be a handful to manage.
Q I am a little worried about my pre-school child but am not sure whether I am worrying over nothing. Is there anything I can do at this stage ?
A Click on KIDS’ Crèche for information about a programme for pre-school children with additional needs.
“Autism is both a disability and a difference. We need to find a way of alleviating the disability
while respecting and valuing the difference.” Professor Simon Baron-Cohen.
Please be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice. See disclaimer.