What is Autism?


 Autism has been redefined for the last five years as a biologically based neurodevelopmental disorder known as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

It includes a spectrum of disorders previously know as Autism, Childhood Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.  Its cause is unknown.  It is not caused by vaccines.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by:

·         Child does not socially interact well with others

·         Shows a lack of interest in (or rejection of) physical contact

·         Infants and children are not comforted by physical contact, commonly seen as unaffectionate

·         Child avoids making eye contact

·         Child fails to develop friends or interact with other children

·         Child does not communicate well with others

·         Language is delayed or does not develop

·         Once language is developed, child does not use language to communicate with others

·         Tendency to repeat words or phrases

·         Child demonstrates repetitive behaviors

·         Has repetitive motor movements such as rocking and hand or finger flapping

·         Child is preoccupied, usually with lights, moving objects, or parts of objects

·         Child does not like noise

·         Child has rituals

·         Child requires routines


Autism Spectrum Disorder usually:

·         Begins before age three

·         Effects 1 in 68 children

·         Effects boys five times more often than girls

·         1 in 42 boys

·         1 in 189 girls


Treatment is largely intensive behavior management and sometimes medications.