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Learning Curves: A Closer Look At Autism And Children

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

We all know not just one, but probably a few children with ADD or ADHD. But, from what I’ve been told, a good number of these children also exhibit signs of mild autism or some autistic behaviours. And, though that’s not the case for the majority, it “is” the case for some.

And, as we all know autism may range from mild to severe. But what causes it?

Well, it was previously suspected that brain abnormalities characteristic of autism were a result of faster cerebral development. However new research suggests that autism may be the result of a delay in neuronal development during the first year of life, despite the fact that autistic children have larger brains.

Studies show that brain scans, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) reveal that autistic children have brains that are larger than average by about 10 percent. Conversely, they show to lack the neuronal development of non-autistic (healthy) children.

According to experts, as the brain develops, water begins to lodge into neurons, changing them from being mobile to being closely bound. And, during normal development, the process occurs at a significant pace during the first six months (of life) and continues at a slower pace until 18 months.

However, according to studies, water remained more mobile in the autistic mind and brain tissue, implicating that there is actually a delay in neuronal development. And, this delay was more prevalent to grey matter distributed at the brain’s surface.

Furthermore, experts suggest that the delay could be a result of inflammation in the first year of life. They note, that inflammation can affect connectivity at a critical stage of brain development, leading to learning difficulties as the child continues to grow and develop. For instance, they assert that children have specific key developmental stages for learning various things, such as language, motor skills, etc. If they miss that window of “opportunity” leaning (in that area) may be more difficult.

Another explanation may be that some children may possess a gene that makes them more susceptible to an inflammatory response in the ear stages of life and development.

However, experts note, that currently there is still no direct link to treatment, and the professionals are still in need of greater understanding of what exactly causes the abnormal development of grey matter.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Learning Curves: A Closer Look At Autism And Children

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