The brain is essential to growth and development in humans. During the critical period
of development, how we experience the world plays a role in our brain development. In recent
years, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has become prevalent among disorders that affect brain
development. Due to advancements in technology, the world is able to understand how
important brain research is to the early detection of autism.
Leo Kanner is the first person to formally identified autism. In 1943, Kanner labeled autism as “autistic disturbance of affective contact”. Initially, there was a lot of confusion concerning Kanner’s description of autism because it was closely related to the characterization of other mental disorders (Blancher and Christensen 2011). In order to effectively study and understand the causes of disruption in the brain, researchers have done experiments to explore the differences between a normal brain and an autistic brain. Researchers have found that structural differences, such as size and composition, can have a significant impact on how the autistic brain processes information. Therefore, there is a variation between a normal person and one with autism. Structural differences cause an autistic person to have impaired social interaction and difficulty with communication, both verbal and nonverbal.
Early signs of ASD may appear in the reflexive/spontaneous phase (third fetal month to the first year of life). Autistic infants tend to avoid interactions with other humans. They tend to avoid eye contact and react adversely to touch. Additionally, autistic children do not develop as fast as normal children. A normal child will grasp an object or react to various body gestures given by others. On the other hand, an autistic child will have difficulty grasping objects or they will little or they will not be able to understand what a smile or a frown means. Symptoms of ASD may go on unnoticed until the child reaches the rudimentary (birth to 2 years) or fundamental movement (from 2 to 6 years) phase of development. Although most neurological
research has shown that there is a clear disruption in the normal brain pattern; the cause(s) of ASD has yet to be connected to one clear source.
Research done on deceased autistic children’s brain tissue revealed areas of disruption in the cortex. When compared to brain tissue samples from children without ASD, these characteristics were not found in children without ASD. Further research has proven that children with ASD have genetic changes that could disturb the formation of the cortex. ASD has been found in children with genetic syndromes like fragile X syndrome. In some instances, ASD may be hereditary. Statistics have found that the rate of autism in twins is 65% to 90% higher than in children who are just siblings. Luckily, the understanding of the needs of children, with and without ASD, is rapidly changing. This rapid change in the awareness of the...