What Is Autism?

What is Autism?

Autism is a neurologically-based developmental disability that lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. It is a spectrum disorder that is characterized by social and communication challenges,sensory impairments, restricted behaviors and Interests, and associated medical issues. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) varies widely in severity and symptoms and may go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected children or when it is masked by other more prominent disabilities.

Autism is NOT a mental illness, bad behavior, caused by vaccines, or always associated with cognitive impairment.  

If you see any of these signs in your child, be sure to inform your child’s pediatrician:

  • no babbling or pointing by age 1
  • no single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
  • no response to name
  • loss of language or social skills
  • poor eye contact
  • excessive lining up of toys or objects
  • different social responsiveness than other children 

These behaviors have been observed in older children:

  • impaired ability to make friends with peers in expected ways 
  • impaired ability to initiate or sustain conversation with others
  • stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
  • restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
  • inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals
  • Lack of fear or danger awareness 
  • Sudden (to you) changes in mood or demeanor 
  • Dislike of being touched/touching too much 
  • Not responsive to verbal and nonverbal cues 
  • Difficulty expressing needs or responding to questions

A developmental evaluation is required to diagnose a child with ASD.  Click here to learn where you can get a developmental evaluation for your child.

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