Autism is a complex, developmental disability that is usually evident within the first three (3) years of life. It is a behaviorally-defined syndrome that is generally recognized by difficulties in communication, social interaction and perceptual organization, or patterns of behavior. Autism is referred to as a "spectrum disorder" meaning that individuals diagnosed may have a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders may display a wide range of skills and deficits.
usually evident in the first three (3) years of life
a lifelong, neuro-developmental disability for which there currently is no cure
4 to 5 times more prevalent in males than females
estimated that an average of 1 in every 70 boys in the US is affected by autism -- and 1 in every 110 children has autism spectrum disorder. Center for Disease Control (CDC) 2009
more common than Downs Syndrome, childhood cancer and Fragile X Syndrome
a behaviorally-defined syndrome diagnosed/verified by multidisciplinary team of professionals
AUTISM IS NOT...
a mental illness
caused by poor parenting or "refrigerator mothers"
always associated with mental impairment
always associated with behavioral challenges
diagnosed by a single medical test or brief observation