What is Autism?

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?
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  • 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.

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Although there has been a great deal of controversy surrounding autism in recent years, research has found that…
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  • 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.

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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:
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  • 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.

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Children with autism may also be affected by:
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  • short attention spans
  • difficulties with aggression and anxiety
  • hyperactivity
  • irritability, mood swings, and temper tantrums
  • compulsive behavior

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