What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them. Children and adults with autism have difficulties with everyday social interaction. Their ability to develop friendships is generally limited as is their capacity to understand other people's emotional expression.

People with autism can often have accompanying learning disabilities but everyone with the condition shares a difficulty in making sense of the world.

People generally refer to those with autism as being high functioning or low functioning.  People with autism can have many scattered skills, making them appear high functioning in some areas while low functioning in others.

People with autism have no distinct physical characteristics.  They look just like everybody else.  On-lookers tend to blame parents of autistic children for allowing "bad behavior" and temper tantrums.  With the increase of autism awareness, most parents hope these misconceptions will reduce. 

People with autism might share a diagnosis but very little else.  Some have good motor planning, others do not, some have high sensory dysfunction, others do not.  Some have extraordinary memories, others do not.  Some are early talkers, others are not. Like all people, children with autism share many commonalities and many differences.

Children with autism get diagnosed at many different ages.  While a large percentage of children get diagnosed between 2 and 5 years old, there are many that get diagnosed earlier and later.  Early intervention has shown to significantly improve success rates.  They key is to find a learning style that the child responds to.  There are many types of intervention that a person with autism can benefit from. 

It's never easy for any parent to hear that their child is not "perfect" and finding out that your child has autism can be absolutely devastating to parents.  They often feel that all their preconceived dreams for their child such as marriage and little league fly out the window and they fear for their child's future.  Coming face to face with the fact that your child has autism is definitely an acceptance process.  In time, most parents find that although life is filled with many trials and tribulations, it's also filled with many joys.  Parents of children with autism appreciate all the small milestones that most other parents take for granted.

What you should know about Autism

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