Apr 3

What Is Autism?

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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others . ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity.

 

Early Signs of Autism:

  • Autism is treatable. Individuals with autism do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.

  • Little or no eye contact

  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language

  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)

  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play

  • Lack of interest in peer relationships

References

https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism