Autism development may be easier to understand thanks to an explanatory model presented in a paper from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. This model provides new insights into how different risk factors lead to autism and why there is such great inter-individual variability.
Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder, affects how people perceive the world around them and how they interact and communicate with others. Among individuals with autism, there is great variation in terms of individual characteristics and symptoms.
The new explanatory model is both theoretical and practical. Its various components are measurable through questionnaires, genetic mapping, psychological testing, etc. This model describes a variety of factors and how they combine to drive the diagnosis of autism and lead to other neurodevelopmental disorders.
This model associates three factors. Together, these result in behavioral patterns that meet diagnostic criteria for autism.
1. Autistic Personality — Inherited common gene mutations that produce an autistic personality.
2. Cognitive Compensation — Intellectual and executive functions such as the ability to learn, understand others, and adapt to social interactions.
3. Exposure to risk factors—for example, deleterious genetic mutations, infectious diseases, and other accidental events during pregnancy and early childhood that adversely affect cognitive performance.
Autism traits are associated with both cognitive strengths and difficulties, but by themselves do not mean that diagnostic criteria have been met. Exposure to factors can affect your ability to cope with difficulties and can lead to a diagnosis of autism.”
Darko Sarovic, Physician and Postdoctoral Fellow, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
The model reveals that it is the combination of various risk factors that drives the large differences between individuals on the spectrum. Various components of the model are supported by results from previous studies.
Higher executive function skills can compensate for deficits in ways that alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of meeting diagnostic criteria for autism. This may explain why, at the group level, researchers observe lower degrees of intelligence in people diagnosed with autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions. You can also understand why it is more common among groups of Thus, this model indicates that cognitive deficits are not part of the autistic personality, but rather a risk factor leading to fulfillment of diagnostic criteria.
“Autistic personality traits are associated with different strengths. For example, parents of children with autism are overrated among engineers and mathematicians. Because personality traits could be compensated, they did not meet diagnostic criteria for autism.For example, the effects of the disorder are more pronounced in children because of exposure to risk factors and relatively lower cognitive abilities. I did,” Sarovich says.
difference between girls and boys
Autism is diagnosed more often in boys than girls, and girls are often diagnosed later. After years of diffuse personal hardship, some girls come of age before receiving a diagnosis.
“Girls’ symptoms are often less noticeable to others. It is generally well known that girls have higher social skills. Girls also tend to have fewer autistic traits and are less prone to autism and are more susceptible to risk factors. It helps answer questions about gaps,” says Sarovich.
research and diagnostics
The model also proposes a way to estimate and measure three factors: autistic personality, cognitive compensation, and exposure to risk factors. This makes it possible to use the model for designing research studies and interpreting their results.
Diagnostics is another possible area of use. In a pilot study in which 24 participants were diagnosed with autism and 22 controls were not diagnosed with autism, measuring his three factors in the model yielded over 93% of the correct categories. could be correctly assigned to This model can also be used to explain the development of other neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia.
Darko Sarovic is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts and at the Gillberg Center for Neuropsychiatry at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.