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What is Autism?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, The World’s Largest Medical Library, autism, also referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD, is a pervasive developmental disorder of unknown origin, appearing during a child’s first three years.

Children with autism typically have difficulties in several different physical and mental areas: play, social situations, communication. These problems can be moderate or severe, often showing up around 18 months to 2 years of age.

Autism in Play

These observations have been made about autistic children, as a general guideline. In play, the child may:

  • Fail to imitate other people’s actions, as would be normal for children trying to learn the ways of the world by practicing the motions they see.
  • Prefer to play alone, rather than with others.
  • Not like to play “pretend” or engage in imaginative play.
  • Not make many friends.
  • Not like to play games requiring interaction.

Autism in Communication

Autism is sometime noticed by parents who are concerned about communication difficulties their child is having. some of these are:

  • Being relatively withdrawn, rather than communicating freely.
  • Not making eye contact with people or returning their smiles.
  • Seeming to treat others as if they were things, rather than people.
  • Repeating words or passages they have heard, from memory, repetitively, and out of context. Also, repeating body movements over and over.
  • Regularly using the wrong term to refer to him or herself. For example, an autistic child might say something about himself using “you” rather than “I.”

Autism can make it difficult to:

  • Start a conversation.
  • Maintain a conversation.
  • Develop language, especially at a normal rate.
  • Notice and look at something that others nearby are looking at.
  • Point out something to someone, which is an activity normally seen in babies or toddlers younger than 15 months.
  • Focus one’s attention on a task or project for a long enough time to finish it.

Autism and the Senses

Autism seems to go along with a higher than usual sensitivity of any or all of the physical senses. An autistic child may be very sensitive to what he or she sees, feels, hears, touches, smells or tastes.

On the other hand, there can be lowered sensitivity as well. For example, if a baby does not startle at loud noises, it could be a sign of a hearing problem or autism. He or she may have a very high or a very low pain threshold.

Download scientific study Diagnosis Treatment and Prevention of Autism.