Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees.
While there is currently no known single cause of autism, early diagnosis helps a person receive the support and services that they need, which can lead to a quality life filled with opportunity.
Characteristics & Diagnosis
Autism is characterized by persistent differences in communication, interpersonal relationships, and social interaction across different environments.
What this can look like: Being nonverbal or having atypical speech patterns, having trouble understanding nonverbal communication, difficulty making and keeping friends, difficulty maintaining typical back-and-forth conversational style.
It is also characterized as restricted and repetitive behavior, patterns, activities and interests.
What this can look like: Repeating sounds or phrases, repetitive movements, preference for sameness and difficulty with transition or routine, rigid or highly restricted and intense interests, extreme sensitivity to or significantly lower sensitivity to various sensory stimuli.
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Although there is no single cause of autism, increased awareness and early diagnosis and intervention as well as access to appropriate services and support leads to significantly improved outcomes.