About Autism

Learn More About Autism

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and causes substantial impairments in social interaction, language and communication and the presence of unusual behaviors and interests.Many people with Autism also have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, and reacting to different sensations. The thinking and learning abilities of people with ASD can vary—from gifted to severely challenged. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees, therefore called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). An ASD begins before the age of 3 and lasts throughout a person’s life. There is no known cause for autism.

As the name “autism spectrum disorders” suggests, ASD cover a wide range of behaviors and abilities. No two people with ASD will have the same symptoms. They will present in each individual child differently. Each child will display communication, social, and behavioral patterns that are individual but fit into the overall diagnosis of ASD.

People with autism process and respond to information in unique ways. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present. Persons with autism may also exhibit some of the following traits:

  • Poor eye contact
  • Non-responsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf, although hearing tests are in normal range
  • Difficulty in expressing needs; using gestures or pointing instead of words
  • Preference to being alone; aloof manner
  • Difficulty in mixing with others
  • Not wanting to cuddle or be cuddled
  • Tantrums
  • Sustained odd play
  • Does not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll, “drive” a car)
  • Doesn’t seem to know how to play with toys
  • Insistence on sameness; resistance to change
  • Excessively lines up toys or spins objects
  • Obsessive attachment to objects

* Note: Contact your child’s doctor or specialist if your child experiences a dramatic loss of skills at any age.