What is Autism? What you should know

Autism is a severe developmental disorder that affects the way a child sees and interacts with the rest of the world. It limits their ability to interact with others socially, in fact many autism suffers avoid human contact.

Autism is part of a larger group of disorders called pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). More information about autism:

 

 


Autism- Definition from Columbia Encyclopedia

Autism is a developmental disability that comes from a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain. It is characterized by the abnormal development of communication skills, social skills, and reasoning. Males are affected four times as often as females. Children may appear normal until around the age of 30 months.

Autism Symptoms

Autism Symptoms vary widely in severity, include impairment in social interaction, fixation on inanimate objects, inability to communicate normally, and resistance to changes in daily routine. Characteristic traits include lack of eye contact, repetition of words or phrases, unmotivated tantrums, inability to express needs verbally, and insensitivity to pain.

Behaviors may change over time. Autistic children often have other disorders of brain function; about two thirds are mentally retarded; over one quarter develop seizures.

What Autism is Not

Autism can be confused with several other disorders which may have similar behaviors. Here is a list of autism like disorders that you should look at.

What Causes Autism

It remains unclear, but a psychological one has been ruled out. Neurological studies seem to indicate a primary brain dysfunction, and a genetic component is suggested by a pattern of autism in some families. It is largely believed that autism is a genetic disorder that involves several genes related to gene function. However it is unclear to researchers what causes these genes to turn on. Learn more about other causes of autism.

Autism Research

There are many exciting developments in autism research going on at the top universities. They are focusing on inherited autism and autism gene research.

Other Autism Spectrum Disorders

Asperger’s Syndrome - A child with asperger’s disorder has the same common problems as children with autism however they don’t have language development problems of a autistic child.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder and not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) – This child has autism but doesn’t meet the criteria for high functioning autism.

High-Functioning Autism - This child has autism but has normal learning and cognitive and learning skills. Language development is difficult initially but they become proficient eventually.

Visit these sites for more information
Early Origins of AutismAutism and Children

Ask an Expert on Autism

Health Finder

Talk to Autism Expert

National Institutes of Mental Health

Combined Health Information Database

Abstracts on Autism