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What Is Autism?

What is Autism?


Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. It is a spectrum disorder and is characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. 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.

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
  • no smiling or social responsiveness

These behaviors have been observed in older children:

  • impaired ability to make friends with peers
  • impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
  • absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
  • stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
  • restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
  • preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
  • inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals

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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