What is autism?
Autism is a severely incapacitating developmental disorder of brain function characterized by three major types of symptoms: impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual or severely limited activities and interests.
The definition of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is provided by the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Children with autism are less able to interact with the world as other children do.
To provide a comprehensive definition of Autism Spectrum Disorder, there are separate labels given to children with autism for different points on the Autism spectrum. At the ...view middle of the document...
In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects.Controversies surround other proposed environmental causes, such as heavy metals, pesticides or childhood vaccines; the vaccine hypotheses are biologically implausible and lack convincing scientific evidence. The prevalence of autism is about 1–2 per 1,000 people worldwide, and it occurs about four times more often in boys than girls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 1.5% of children in the United States (one in 68) are diagnosed with ASD as of 2014, a 30% increase from one in 88 in 2012. The number of people diagnosed with autism has been increasing dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice and government-subsidized financial incentives for named diagnoses; the question of whether actual prevalence has increased is unresolved.
Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life. The signs usually develop gradually, but some autistic children first develop more normally and then regress. Early behavioral, cognitive, or speech interventions can help autistic children gain self-care, social, and communication skills. Although there is no known cure,there have been reported cases of children who recovered.Not many children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, though some become successful. An autistic culture has developed, with some individuals seeking a cure and others believing autism should be accepted as a difference and not treated as a disorder
Autism is a highly variable neurodevelopmental disorder that first appears during infancy or childhood, and generally follows a steady course without remission. Overt symptoms gradually begin after the age of six months, become established by age two or three years, and tend to continue through adulthood, although often in more muted form. It is distinguished not by a single symptom, but by a characteristic triad of symptoms: impairments in social interaction; impairments in communication; and restricted interests and repetitive behavior. Other aspects, such as atypical eating, are also common but are not essential for diagnosis. Autism's individual symptoms occur in the general population and appear not to associate highly, without a sharp line separating pathologically severe from common traits.
Social deficits distinguish autism and the related autism spectrum disorders (ASD; see Classification) from other developmental disorders. People with autism have social impairments and often lack the intuition about others that many people take for granted. Noted autistic Temple Grandin described her inability to understand the social communication of neurotypicals, or people with normal neural development, as leaving her feeling "like an anthropologist on Mars".
Unusual social development becomes apparent early in childhood. Autistic infants show less attention to social stimuli,...