Understanding Autism

Our knowledge of autism spectrum disorders is rapidly changing given the many researchers working in this area.

What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder with onset before age 3 with subtle signs of the disorder often being present in early infancy. The presentation of symptoms of autism can vary greatly; however, the characteristics necessary for diagnosing it are as follows:

    1. Impairment in reciprocal social interaction (e.g., limited eye contact, responding to people as if they are objects).
    2. Communicative deficits (e.g., limited or no verbal communicative skills, problems using pronouns).
    3. Repetitive behavior or marked adherence to specific routines (e.g., body rocking, problems transitioning from one activity or environment to another).

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