Disabled World: Revised/Updated: 2018/11/30
Synopsis: Autism is a brain development disorder that is characterized by impaired social interaction communication and restricted repetitive behavior.
Autism is a brain development disorder that is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior, all starting before a child is three years old. This set of signs distinguishes autism from milder autism spectrum disorders (ASD) such as pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
Autism falls under the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, which includes disorders like Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and then autism is then divided up in many different subtypes including Asperger's Syndrome.
A blurred shot of a child playing the piano - Photo Credit: Clark Young on Unsplash
For reasons as yet unidentified, autism has become an epidemic in America over the last couple of decades. While considerable controversy surrounds the issue of why this condition is escalating so rapidly, the number of children diagnosed with autism has risen from one in 2,000 to one in 59 today. Other proposed causes, such as childhood vaccines, are controversial, and the vaccine hypotheses lack any convincing scientific evidence.
Autism and ADHD could present with each other or with a variety of other conditions - but they do not "typically" present together.
Some autism symptoms could appear like inattention. You should not easily confuse someone with ADHD with someone with autism as their functioning and behavior are different.
Autistic individuals display many forms of repetitive or restricted behavior, which the Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R) categorizes as follows:
No single repetitive behavior seems to be specific to autism, but only autism appears to have an elevated pattern of occurrence and severity of these behaviors. Early behavioral or cognitive intervention can help children gain self-care, social, and communication skills. There is no currently no known cure for autism.
The number of people diagnosed has been increasing dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice and government-subsidized financial incentives for named diagnoses; the question of whether actual rates have increased is unresolved.