Autism - Description

Autism is a lifelong disorder. It interferes with a person's ability to understand what he or she sees, hears, and touches. For this reason, a person with autism has very difficult problems knowing how to behave properly and how to interact with other people. The person has to be taught behaviors that develop normally in most people. Autism varies in its degree of severity among individuals. The disease has a full range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.

Autism occurs in about 1 out of every 1,000 children. It is found four times more often in boys than in girls. It occurs everywhere in the world among all races and social backgrounds. Autism is usually evident in the first three years of life. In some children, the disease is difficult to detect. It may not be diagnosed until the child enters school.

Some children with autism have an unusual form of the disease. They show a unique talent in one specific area, such as mathematics, memory, music, or art. These children are known as autistic savants (pronounced sa-VAHNT), or intellectual autistics.

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