Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is not a single disorder, but a general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development, present from early childhood. It is a spectrum disorder, meaning there is a wide degree of variation in how it effects people, and how severely. Some autistics are unable to communicate or care for themselves. Others have above average intelligence and are completely self-sufficient. It is, however, generally characterized by difficulty in using language, in social interaction, in communicating and forming relationships. It is also associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention, repetitive behavior, and physical health issues such as gastrointestinal problems and sleep disorders.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Autism spectrum disorder impacts how a child perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in crucial areas of development — social interaction, communication and behavior. The severity of symptoms varies greatly, but all people with autism have some core symptoms in the areas of:
- Social interactions and relationships. Difficulty developing nonverbal communication skills. Lack of empathy and sharing enjoyment or achievements with others.
- Verbal and nonverbal communication. Delay or lack of learning to talk. Difficulty starting and engaging in conversation.
- Limited interests in activities or play. Preoccupation with certain topics. A need for sameness and routines.