Autism

What is Autism?

A pervasive developmental disorder, autism affects information processing in multiple ways. Many people with autism have difficulties with social interactions and communication, sensory deficits, and poor motor coordination. Autistic people often have restricted interests and engage in repetitive behaviors.

Because autism's symptoms vary greatly, it's said to exist on a spectrum, and is increasing referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder. (Asperger's is a condition often referred to as "high functioning" autism.) Some people with autism have low intelligence while others are quite intelligent.

Autism usually manifests by age two. It affects far more males than females. The frequency of diagnosis has surged over the past 20 years. No one knows for sure what causes autism, but numerous studies link it to advanced maternal and/or paternal age at conception.

Reports implicating mercury-containing vaccines have proved baseless, although there is some evidence that environmental toxins may play a role. Some research suggests that autism reflects an "extreme male brain," because people with the condition often have an obsession with details and systemizing but are low on empathizing ability. There is no cure for autism, although some symptoms may ameliorate over the years.



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Autism Blogs

  • Dr. Darren Sush, Psy.D., BCBA-D

    All the Pieces

    Resources and Support for Parents of Children with Autism
  • Lynne Soraya

    Asperger's Diary

    Life through the lens of Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Alison Berkley, MST

    Breaking Barriers

    Perspectives from the trenches of the special needs world
  • Amy S.F. Lutz

    Inspectrum

    Reports from the world of severe autism.
  • John Elder Robison

    My Life With Asperger's

    How to live a high-functioning life with Asperger's.
  • Stephen Borgman

    Spectrum Solutions

    Personal Growth Development for Children, Teens, and Adults on the Spectrum
  • Chantal Sicile-Kira

    The Autism Advocate

    Practical tips and musings on raising children and teens with autism
  • The Guest Room

    Reports and responses from guest bloggers.