What Is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disorder that involves significant challenges in communication, behaviors, and social interactions. Although it is commonly referred to as Autism, its formal diagnostic name is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The word “spectrum” in ASD implies that the disorder has a wide range of symptoms with varying degrees of severity. In other words, the effects and gravity of the symptoms varies for each individual. For example, a moderate form of Autism could present as mild repetitive gestures or learning disorder, while a more serious form can cause severely limited communication and social skills, and sometimes self-harming behaviors. Individuals with Autism are sometimes gifted with one or two traits, usually in the areas of visual/performing arts and science/mathematics that make them excel in comparison to their peers. Autism is normally diagnosed in childhood with many of the most visible symptoms showing between 2-3 years old. Some children may grow normally and may only get diagnosed later when their development appears to slow down significantly and they begin to lose previously gained skills.
Autism is lifelong condition. However, many children diagnosed with Autism grow to become independent, have families and careers, and live fulfilling lives. Understanding more about Autism will help you better appreciate and understand individuals who are living with the condition.