What is Autism?

Autism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the classic autistic disorder; some writers use the word autism when referring to the range of disorders on the autism spectrum or to the various pervasive developmental disorders.[1]
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Autism
Classification and external resources
Young red-haired boy facing away from camera, stacking a seventh can atop a column of six food cans on the kitchen floor. An open pantry contains many more cans.

Repetitively stacking or lining up objects is a behavior sometimes associated with individuals with autism.
 

Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted, repetitive or stereotyped behavior. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent before a child is three years old.[2] Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood.[3] It is one of three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum (ASDs), the other two being Asperger syndrome, which lacks delays in cognitive development and language, and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (commonly abbreviated as PDD-NOS), which is diagnosed when the full set of criteria for autism or Asperger syndrome are not met.[4]

Autism has a strong genetic basis, although the genetics of autism are complex and it is unclear whether ASD is explained more by rare mutations, or by rare combinations of common genetic variants.[5] In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects.[6]Controversies surround other proposed environmental causes, such as heavy metalspesticides or childhood vaccines;[7] the vaccine hypotheses are biologically implausible and lack convincing scientific evidence.[8] The prevalence of autism is about 1–2 per 1,000 people worldwide, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 20 per 1,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with ASD as of 2012 (up from 11 per 1,000 in 2008).[7][9][10] 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;[10] the question of whether actual prevalence has increased is unresolved.[11]

Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child’s life.[12] The signs usually develop gradually, but some autistic children first develop more normally and then regress.[13] Early behavioral, cognitive, or speech interventions can help autistic children gain self-care, social, and communication skills.[12] Although there is no known cure,[12] there have been reported cases of children who recovered.[14] Not many children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, though some become successful.[15] 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.[16]

For more information, click here to visit Autism on Wikipedia

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