Autism in progress

Science of autism is a work in progress

Nothing we know about autism is “written in stone”. Science keeps learning and discovering new features of autism, learning more about neurology how completely that is tied to the behaviors used today to diagnose us.

I wanted to comment on a couple of areas of growing information that seem to be related to autism but so far have not been completely proved through strict scientific tests.

More is being learned about ADHD and ADD as it has many parallels to ASD (autism). Many people with diagnoses of ADHD and/or ADD are learning they might be autistic, and many who have been diagnosed as autistic are today being diagnosed with ADHD or ADD as well. ADHD and ADD have been given more attention in the medical community and drugs are often used to try to help diagnosed persons attain more control over some of the worst struggles.

Many new drugs have been developed specifically for this purpose.
So far there are no pharmaceuticals specifically for autism, but there are many for the frequent co morbidities of anxiety and depression. (those drugs are used for folks with ADD/ADHD diagnosis as well).
Many recent and current studies are trying to sort how these diagnoses differ and how much they share in the associated neurological performance issues.
Progress seems to be so slow for the hundreds of thousands of people to whom these neurological diagnoses are given.

Another area of recent interest is something which is more rare, “selective mutism”. Selective mutism is something that happens to many people but despite the misleading title, the mutism is not chosen or controlled by the individual, mutism happens in select circumstances only, and speaking ability is entirely out of the control of the person it happens to in those circumstances.
This has been thought to happen to less than one percent of the population.
Selective mutism is also described on DSM 5 and many early studies found no connection with autism.
I read a recent paper however, which tested a group of persons who had a diagnosis of selective mutism for autism and 63 percent of those tested had scores high enough to be diagnosed with autism.
Science moves slowly. Neurological struggles have been classified by behavior for most of our history. We had no other tools available. Now with the advent of modern science with its ability to measure and test actual neurological function through scans, electronic monitoring, and so much more, we may be on the verge of being able to look at a person’s actual neurological function and see which struggles will be the worst and the best, enabling us to more accurately pinpoint useful things we could do to help.
There are loads of comparative studies and reports, and recent articles on the WWW, where you can find links to all the subjects I discuss on these pages.

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