What is Autism?
Autism affects 3-6 children out of every 1,000. Though it varies in severity, autism knows no boundaries and affects every ethnic and socioeconomic group. So, what exactly is autism?
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that appears within the first three years of life.
- Autism affects a child’s ability to communicate. Children will be slow to develop language skills, if at all, and will often communicate by gestures rather than words.
- Autism affects a child’s social interaction with others. Children who are diagnosed with autism can have difficulty making friends and often prefer to spend time alone. Autism also affects a child’s ability to engage in imaginative play.
- With regressive autism, some children can appear normal by 1 or 2 years of age and then lose any language or communication skills they may have developed.
- Asperger syndrome is a milder form of autism with normal language development.
Although there has been a great deal of controversy surrounding autism in recent years, research has found that…
- Autism has been linked to abnormal brain chemistry, but the exact cause of autism is still unknown.
- The exact number of children affected by autism is not known.
- Autism affects boys 3-4 times more often than girls.
What are its signs?
Most parents will begin to notice that something is wrong with their children when they observe the following symptoms and behavior:
- The child cannot or does not make babbling noises, or make gestures such as waving or pointing, by 12 months old;
- The child isn’t saying single words by 16 months of age;
- The child seems to be losing language and communication skills at any age.
Children with autism may also be affected by:
- short attention spans
- difficulties with aggression and anxiety
- irritability, mood swings, and temper tantrums
- compulsive behavior