n South African Journal of Child Health - Of rain men and snowcakes : the presentation, pathology, aetiology and management of autistic spectrum disorder : review




Over the past two decades, both the prevalence and our understanding of autism have increased exponentially. Autism encompasses a group of behaviourally defined developmental disorders, collectively known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which appear to be caused by the impact of environment during early life on genetically induced susceptibility. As paediatricians are consulted first by most parents of children with developmental delay, they should be able to discuss the pathology, aetiology and management of the disorder. Although much remains to be understood, research over the last 20 years has shown that this disorder is treatable, and that early medical / biomedical and behavioural intervention greatly improves the quality of life and outcomes of children with ASD.


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