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How is autism caused?

Written by : DoctorNDTV Team
Checked by : Dr S Anandalakshmy
Advisor on Child Development & Education,

Autism is not a mental illness, as it was previously believed to be. It is also not a result of bad parenting. However, the exact cause of the disorder is not known.
In autism, as in all developmental disorders, there appears to be damage to the developing brain, affecting both structure and function.

Possible causes cited range from genetic factors, maternal health, physical or emotional factors during pregnancy, complications during pregnancy, difficulties during birth and infections in the early developmental period, including the highly-debated adverse affects of vaccines in creating metal toxicity in the brain.

What is of great concern is the recent increase in numbers of children with autism.

The disorder results in sensory integrative dysfunction. The dysfunction affects information- processing and behavior adversely, which in turn, permeates different areas of development.

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