What is Autism?

Autism is a biological and neurological spectral disorder that typically appears during the first three years of life. It affects brain function and is a life long disability resulting in behaviors that affect both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Symptoms include certain 'trait' behaviors and affected social development. This complex developmental disability is four times more common in boys than girls and occurs in 1 in 95 children born today (Dept. of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, Medical Home Initiatives & First Signs Inc.).

Social, ethnic and racial factors have been shown as non-factors to the cause of this disorder. Autism is characterized by its early onset. Typical behaviors show up before the age of 36 months, but the symptoms are often masked during the first two years of life by developmental milestones. Autism is a spectral disorder that has a wide range of severity from person to person. Simply put, people afflicted with autism do not process what they see, hear and sense in a typical manner.

Symptomps may include:

  • Lack of or poor eye contact
  • Lack of or significantly delayed speech
  • Various self-stimulatory behaviors such as hand flapping, rocking, spinning or other repetitive behaviors.
  • Covering ears with hands
  • Difficulty in socializing with other children
  • Insistence on sameness; resists change in routine
  • Inappropriate laughing and giggling
  • No real fear of dangers
  • Sustained odd play.
  • Apparent insensitivity to pain.
  • Echolalia (repeating words or phrases in place of normal language)
  • Preference to be alone; aloof manner.
  • May not want cuddling or act cuddly.
  • Not responsive to verbal cues (may include his/her name); acts as if deaf.
  • Fascination with spinning objects.
  • Inappropriate attachment to objects.
  • Difficulty in expressing needs; uses gestures or leading others instead of words.
  • Noticeable physical over-activity or extreme under-activity.
  • Tantrums - displays extreme distress for no apparent reason.
  • Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
  • Uneven gross/fine motor skills (may not want to kick a ball but can stack blocks.)

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Our mission is to provide information on treatment resources for families with children diagnosed with autism, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and related disorders.




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