What Is Autism?

Autism is the result of a neurological disorder, impacting the development of
social and communication skills. Autism knows no ethnic or social boundaries
and is not affected by family income, lifestyles, or education levels. It can affect
any child. It is a lifelong disability and cannot be outgrown, although some of the
behaviors may be corrected over time. Autism usually appears during the first
three year of life.

People with autism have difficulty communicating and engaging in leisure/play
activities. The spectrum of autism is varied, affecting each individual differently.
Some may have mild language delays, while others may have no functional
speech, relying on sign language or picture symbols to communicate.

Social interactions with peers are a challenge. It is a myth that a child with
autism does not make eye contact, many do. They show affection, laugh and
express other emotions. Autism affects how an individual reacts to their
environment due to complicated sensory systems. People with autism have
difficulty controlling how they react in different situations.

Current studies by the Centers for Disease Control report that 1 in every 88
children will be diagnosed with autism.

Signs of Autism

Sensitive to sound / ordinary daily noises

Delays in language

May exhibit aggressive / self-injurious behavior

Resist changes in environment / daily routine

Uses gestures or pointing instead of words

Repeats words or phrases

Prefers to be/play alone

Tantrums

Poor motor skills

May show little or no eye contact

Enjoys spinning objects

May be over sensitive / under sensitive to pain or touch

Does not respond to verbal cues, although hearing tests in normal range.