Autism is defined as a complex neurobiological disorder of development that last throughout a person's life. The word development in the definition presents a great reason why the disorder is commonly referred to as a "developmental disability". The words "last throughout" without doubt answer the question of whether or not the disability could ever be cured. The answer is a definite no. By 18 months of age, autism can be detected through the developing of behavioral symptoms that include problems with eye contact, being unresponsive to one's name, attention problems, etc. Autism often includes a spectrum of different behaviors and for that reason is separated and classified onto different areas of that spectrum.
The major signs and symptoms of autism include communication, social interaction, and routine behavior. Communication involves both spoken and unspoken communication. Social interaction involve sharing emotions, the concept of being empathetic to others' thoughts and feelings, beginning and maintaining conversation, and time spent interacting with others. Routine behavior surprisingly does not seem as routine as it seems obsessive. Routine behaviors accommodate repeating words over and over again, following schedules obsessively, and being extremely specific about the way items have to be arranged.
Autistic people could have a problem with talking to you while maintaining eye contact. Autistic people may have to say sentences repetitively. Some autistic people may have never even learned how to talk at all. Autism affects individuals in different ways, which is where the spectrum mentioned earlier comes into play. Autism Spectrum Disorders, or ASDs, covers mild to more serious symptoms. The ASD category features the conditions Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Atypical Autism.
PDD, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder, is a term that defines autism more broadly. PDD can include the ASDs mentioned above, while also including Childhood dis-integrative disorder, and Rett Syndrome. Whether a person falls into the PDD category or the ASD category depends on specific symptoms. Sometimes however, the acronyms are used to mean the same thing because autism is a disorder that fits into both categories.
An estimated one child in every 1,000 children has an ASD. It is not limited to any specific ethnic group, racial group, or social class. However, studies show that boys are three to four times more likely to be autistic than girls. A family that has one child who has autism is two to eight percent more likely to have an occurrence of another autistic child. This is a higher likelihood than any other numbers out there in the nation's general population.
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