What is Autism?

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Autism is a developmental disorder which affects an individual’s ability to interact and communicate with other people. People with autism have a neurological disorder wherein information is not normally processed by the brain because of an anomaly on how cells and the neurons relay information. Because of this, autistic individuals will often have learning and social problems.

Simply put, autistic individuals experience the world differently than ‘normal’ people. The learning problem comes from their inability to process information in the usual way, needing a specialized guidance in order for them to understand concepts. The social problem stems from their inability to understand social norms, and more complex communication tools such as non-verbal language or maybe sarcasm, or the emotions that go with a smile or a frown.

Typically signs of autism manifest itself in the first three years of a child’s life. Early signs include problems in social interaction, difficulty in communicating, and lack of engagement as well as the presence of repetitive behavior’”examples of which are flapping of hands, lolling of the head, or making patterns out of toys. Autistic children sometimes tend to have frequent outbursts, while others withdraw completely as if in a world of their own.

It is estimated that autism affects 1 out of 150 children. Many will agree that early detection is key, so that autistic children can get the help they need in order to be able to function normally, or at least as best as they can, when they get older. There is no known medicinal cure for autism, but doctors can help an autistic child adjust through behavioral and communication therapy.

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