What is Autism?

What is Autism?

Autism is a neurobiological disorder. Today, 1 in 68 individuals are diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and occurs four times more likely in boys than girls. Autism impairs a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as arranging objects in rows or following very specific routines or self stimulatory behavior. Symptoms can range from very mild to severe. While children with autism share some of the same characteristics, they can vary quite a bit in their disability. If you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism. This is because each child is very unique.

Social skills

o Fails to respond to his or her name
o Has poor eye contact
o Appears not to hear you at times
o Resists cuddling and holding
o Appears unaware of others’ feelings
o Seems to prefer playing alone – retreats into his or her ” own world”


o Starts talking later than other children
o Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
o Does not make eye contact when making requests
o Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm – may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
o Can’t start a conversation or keep one going
o May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand to use them


o Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand- napping
o Develops specific routines or rituals
o Becomes disturbed at the slightest change in routines or rituals
o Moves constantly
o May be fascinated by parts of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car
o May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch and yet oblivious to pain