Unfortunately, there is no current cure for autism. Treatments are aimed at minimizing specific symptoms. Because the symptoms that someone may have very a lot from case to case, there is no single approach to a treatment that is universal. Individuals may be trained in music, listening, vision, speech, and language, and senses. Special diets and medications may also be prescribed. With proper treatment, people with autism can improve significantly in their lives. A child with autism can learn best with special teachers in a special setting to meet the individual’s need. The two most often studied types of treatment are:
Individuals with Autistic Disorder also tend to have “restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities” (American Psychiatric Association, 1994, 67). In addition, there may be an encompassing “preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus” (American Psychiatric Association, 67). Individuals with autistic disorder display a range of interests and are typically preoccupied with one narrow interest . In addition, they may insist on sameness and show resistance to or distress over trivial changes . Other abnormalities may include strange postures (walking on tiptoe, odd hand movements and abnormal body postures) (American Psychiatric Association, 67).
Objective: Air pollution contains many toxicants known to affect neurological function and to have effects on the fetus in utero. Recent studies have reported associations between perinatal exposure to air pollutants and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. We tested the hypothesis that perinatal exposure to air pollutants is associated with ASD, focusing on pollutants associated with ASD in prior studies.
If so, what can be done?” Early intervention services; such as applied behavior analysis therapy, occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, and speech therapy before the age of three; can help improve the development of children with autism spectrum disorder....
Long-term Affects and Treatment Goals
While there is no cure for autism, with the right treatment, the negative behaviors that the individual may have will improve. The goals of the treatments vary, depending on the case. The main objectives of the treatments are to increase the underdeveloped traits of the individual and sustain the developed traits at the same time. Maybe not an easy goal, but with time and training, it can be done.
According to the DSM-IV Autism Spectrum Disorders are characterized by developmental delays in children when dealing with socialization and communication, along with restricted, repetitive and stereotypical patterns of behavior.
Strengths of our study include the wide geographic distribution of the nurses and the nesting within a well-defined cohort, which reduces the likelihood of selection bias. In addition, the specificity of our findings for the pregnancy period places important limitations on possible residual confounding. Specifically, any factor that is not differentially related to PM during pregnancy versus before or after pregnancy is very unlikely to confound our results. Thus, for example, although population density, a choice to take folate supplements during pregnancy, or a host of other potential confounders (; ) may be related to PM2.5 exposure, they would be expected to be equally related to PM2.5 exposure before or after pregnancy as during it. But no association with them were seen in mutually adjusted models. In this way, PM2.5 exposure before and after pregnancy (because no association is seen with them in mutually adjusted models) acts as a negative control (; ) and rules out confounding by many—even unmeasured—potential confounders. We cannot, however, rule out another pollutant that co-varies with PM2.5. Nor can we determine whether there is a particular component of PM2.5 that is responsible for the associations we found. PM2.5, however, is a complex mixture that may be correlated with other air pollution constituents. In the present study we did not have high temporal and spatial resolution data on other air pollution constituents or on specific PM2.5 components to determine whether a specific component is associated with autism.
Five prior studies have examined air pollution and ASD, including two studies that used the same U.S. EPA models as we did to estimate exposure to pollutants. The first study, of the San Francisco Bay area, found elevated ASD associated with exposure to metals (cadmium, mercury, and nickel), chlorinated solvents (methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride), and diesel (ASD cases, n = 284; controls, n = 657, identified through the California autism surveillance system) (). A second study in North Carolina and West Virginia, which compared children with ASD, identified from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (n = 383), with children with speech and language delays (n = 2,829), found significantly elevated ASD for 17 of 35 pollutants in unadjusted models, including diesel, mercury, nickel, and beryllium, but not lead or methylene chloride. However, risk was attenuated in models adjusted for urbanicity, socioeconomic status, and other covariates. No pollutants were statistically significantly associated with increased ASD in these adjusted models (). However, because urbanicity may be a proxy for pollutant concentration, including it in models may effectively capture some of an association that in reality should be attributed to pollutants, thus biasing results. In our analyses, adjusting for population density very slightly attenuated associations of pollutants with ASD. To the extent that any pollutant was also associated with speech and language delays, associations with ASD would be attenuated because of the use of such children as controls. In semi-Bayes models with multiple pollutants as predictors, designed to determine which among many correlated pollutants were associated with ASD, associations with styrene and quinoline just reached significance (). Similarly, in models including multiple pollutants we found that ORs for each pollutant were attenuated compared with single-pollutant models, and no longer statistically significant.
Mother’s residential proximity to a major freeway during pregnancy has also been associated with ASD in a study including 304 ASD cases recruited through the California Department of Developmental Services and 259 sex-, age-, and geographically matched controls (). Distance to a freeway may reflect approximate exposure to pollutants from traffic. Given our finding that diesel concentration was associated with ASD, this study and ours, which used very different measures, together suggest that traffic-related air pollution may increase the risk of ASD. Finally, a study of Texas school districts found that environmentally released mercury in a county was associated with higher autism prevalence among students in that county (), but these results were not replicated (). Relying on school district data for ASD case status could introduce bias related to differential rates of identification of children for special education by school district. This is of particular concern because the associations were substantially reduced in analyses that attempted to account for possible bias by adjusting for special education rates excluding autism.
Given the small number of girls with ASD (n = 46), the sex differences in our results must be interpreted with caution. It is possible that the few pollutants that showed a positive association with ASD for both boys and girls are more likely candidates to be causally associated with ASD. On the other hand, most of the pollutants we examined showed a much more robust association among boys—the sex-by-pooled-metals interaction term was large and statistically significant—and sex-specific etiological subtypes of ASD have been suggested by prior findings. Specifically, the male:female sex ratio is significantly higher in ASD without comorbid mental retardation compared with ASD with mental retardation (), and Rett syndrome, a rare form of autism, occurs only in girls. Metals, traffic-related pollution (e.g., diesel), and styrene are neurotoxicants, induce inflammatory responses in humans and animals, (; ; ), and lead to oxidative stress in in vitro studies and in vivo animal studies ()—processes that have been implicated in autism (). Greater innate vulnerability to ASD in boys versus girls, as reflected in the greater prevalence of ASD in boys, may mean that the neurotoxic and inflammatory effects of these air pollutants are more likely to cause boys to cross a biological or behavioral threshold into ASD. Additionally, metals may have sex-specific effects on social behavior through altered dopamine function ().