Autism is a developmental disability that manifests itself in the first three years of life. It results from a neurological disorder that affects the brain function. Children all over the world are affected, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status.
As a spectrum condition, individuals with autism share similar difficulties. However, the way in which autism impacts on an individual is unique, with no two people with the condition being exactly the same.
Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests.
According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder, with the condition being more common in males than females. The exact cause of autism is still unknown. However, some may be some genetic factors associated with the development of the disorder. Most importantly, there is a vast array of help and support available to those diagnosed and their families.
The appearance of autism can vary from person to person. The severity of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) symptoms varies greatly, but all people with autism have some core symptoms in the areas of:
People with autism may take longer than other people to understand what somebody is saying. They may become confused when a lot of information is given to them all at once, and they may take things that people say very literally. People with autism may also find it difficult to say what they want or explain what they mean. Sometimes they may learn to use pictures, photos or signs to help them to let people know what they want to say.
People with autism may think in a rigid way. This means that they may find it difficult to consider alternatives or to accept when things are not as they expected. It can be difficult for them to think ahead and to guess what is going to happen next, which means that they may become scared or confused in some situations. This pattern of thinking means that people with autism often like routine and are good at setting up and following routines. They may have fixed interests and be adept at focussing on detail.
People with autism may find it difficult to work out what other people are thinking or feeling. It may be difficult for them to learn the ‘social rules’ about what to do with other people. They may feel anxious or fearful in unfamiliar places or with unfamiliar people because they find it difficult to make sense of what they see and hear.
People with autism may experience some form of sensory sensitivity. This can occur in one or more of the senses and can mean that a person may be extremely sensitive to certain sensory information (hypersensitive) or may appear not to notice some sensory stimuli (hyposensitive). Common examples of things that can cause sensory difficulties are reflective surfaces, loud noises, fluorescent lighting and long sleeves.