< Autistic disorders strike families of all racial, ethnic, and social backgrounds. These disorders are estimated to affect approximately four children in 10,000. Other estimates place the number affected at between 1 in 500 and 1 in 2,500 Americans. Autistic disorder occurs four times more frequently in boys than girls. Several surveys have shown that between two and four percent of siblings of autistic children also have autistic disorder. This rate is 50 times greater than in the general population. Among pairs of identical twins in which one child has autism, in 36% of the pairs, the other twin has autism as well. Among fraternal twins, there is no similar correlation. Some studies indicate that even among family members who are not diagnosed as autistic, there tends to be a higher-than-average rate of language and other cognitive problems. As many as 25% of autistic children develop epileptic seizures later in life, usually during adolescence. This symptom appears mostly in those who are also mentally retarded.
Recently, professionals have reported observing increasing numbers of children with autistic disorders. While no studies confirm this observation, there are three possible reasons why it appears so. First, the definition of "autism" and "autistic disorders" has widened considerably since the first case reports by Leo Kanner in 1943. The DSM-IV-TR definition currently in use includes a far greater range of behaviors than earlier definitions of autism. Second, there has been an increasing awareness of the existence of autism and autistic disorders among the general public and among health professionals, making a child with symptoms of autism much more likely to be diagnosed than in years past. Finally, it is possible that there is an actual increase in the number of children born with one of these disorders.
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Whenever a doctor informs the parents that their child is suffering with Autism, the first & foremost question that is thrown over him is - How did it happen? How did my child get this disease? Well, there is no definite answer to what are the exact causes of Autism.