The onset of autism can occur at any time during a person’s lifespan, but it is typically diagnosed in early childhood. There are two types of autism: early-onset autism and regression autism. In this article, we will discuss the differences between the two, as well as the prevalence, causes, and treatment options for each.
Autism with regression is a form of ASD in which a child displays typical development for a period of time and then experiences a sudden loss of developmental milestones and begins to display autistic behaviors. This form of autism is often identified in early childhood, usually before the age of three. On the other hand, autism without regression is a form of ASD in which a child displays consistent autistic behaviors from an early age but does not display any sudden loss of developmental milestones.
Early onset autism refers to individuals who exhibit symptoms of autism from a young age, usually before the age of three. Regression autism, on the other hand, refers to individuals who develop typically and then lose skills, such as language, social interaction, and adaptive behavior, after the age of three.
Prevalence of early onset autism and regression autism
According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, early-onset autism refers to cases in which the symptoms of autism are present from birth or appear in the first year of life. Regression autism, on the other hand, refers to cases in which an individual develops normally until losing previously acquired skills, such as language or social interaction, around the age of 18-24 months. The prevalence of early-onset autism is estimated to be around 5% of all cases of autism, while the prevalence of regression autism is estimated to be around 20-30% of all cases. These estimates may vary depending on the population studied and the methods used to diagnose autism.
Causes of early onset autism and regression autism
The exact causes of autism are not fully understood, but research suggests that both genetic and environmental factors play a role. In the case of early-onset autism, genetic factors are thought to be the primary cause. Many individuals with early-onset autism have a family history of the disorder, and studies have identified several genetic mutations that are associated with an increased risk of developing autism.
Regression autism, on the other hand, may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For example, some cases of regression autism may be the result of brain damage caused by a medical condition or injury. There are several other possible explanations for regression in children with autism. One theory is that the child may have had a medical condition or other health issues that caused the regression. Another possibility is that the child was experiencing stress or trauma, which may have contributed to the loss of skills. It is also possible that the child was simply not receiving the necessary support and intervention to continue developing normally.
Diagnosis and treatment of early onset autism and regression autism
The diagnosis of autism is typically made by a team of healthcare professionals, including a pediatrician, psychologist, and speech therapist. The diagnosis is based on the presence of specific behaviors and characteristics, as well as a thorough evaluation of the individual’s medical history and development.
In the case of early-onset autism, the symptoms of the disorder may be apparent from the very beginning of life. This may make the diagnosis easier, as the individual’s developmental milestones can be tracked from the start.
Regression autism, on the other hand, maybe more difficult to diagnose, as the individual may have developed normally before experiencing a loss of skills. In these cases, it is important to work with a healthcare professional who is experienced in diagnosing autism and can help identify the cause of the regression.
Treatment options for both early-onset autism and regression autism may include behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and medication. The specific treatment plan will depend on the individual’s needs and may involve a combination of approaches.
Implications for Diagnosis and Treatment
Due to the differences between EOA and RA, the diagnosis and treatment of the two types of autism may differ. For example, individuals with EOA may require early intervention, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) or speech therapy, in order to help them reach their potential. On the other hand, individuals with RA may require more intensive intervention, such as intensive behavioral interventions, in order to help them regain lost skills. In addition, individuals with EOA may require more frequent monitoring and assessment, while individuals with RA may require less frequent monitoring and assessment.
Coping with a diagnosis of early-onset autism or regression autism
Receiving a diagnosis of autism can be a challenging and emotional experience for both the individual and their family. It is important to remember that every individual with autism is unique and will have their own strengths and challenges.
There are many resources and support systems available for individuals with autism and their families, including support groups, therapy services, and educational programs. It can also be helpful to connect with other families who are dealing with a similar diagnosis, as they can provide a sense of community and understanding.
While both forms of autism have their challenges, it is important to remember that every child is unique and will have their strengths and challenges. Working with a team of professionals can help you to identify your child’s specific needs and develop a personalized treatment plan. As a parent, you are your child’s greatest advocate. Stay informed, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to seek out additional resources and support. Your child is counting on you to be their biggest supporter and to help them reach their full potential.
Thompson, Lucy, et al. “Autism with and without Regression: A Two-Year Prospective Longitudinal Study in Two Population-Derived Swedish Cohorts – Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.” SpringerLink, Springer US, 4 Feb. 2019, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-018-03871-4.
Boterberg, Sofie, et al. “Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Critical Overview of Retrospective Findings and Recommendations for Future Research.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, vol. 102, 2019, pp. 24–55., https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.03.013.