What Is Autism?

  • Autism affects children of every race, ethnic group and socioeconomic status.
  • Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that generally appears before the age of 3.
  • Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function. Individuals with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.
  • Children with autism may have difficulties that interfere with their ability to go to school or learn:
    • Academic development: Some children may have great difficulty learning to read, write or do arithmetic.
    • Thinking / memory skills: Some children may have more difficulty than others in remembering what they see or hear.
    • Attention / Perception skills: Some children may have difficulty processing or understanding information. As a result, it may be hard for them to pay attention or follow directions.
    • Social / Emotional development: Some may have trouble managing their feelings and/or behavior. They may find it very difficult to get along with others or cope with changes in their lives.
  • About 40% of children with autism do not speak. About 25%–30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others might speak, but not until later in childhood
  • Autism greatly varies from person to person (no two people with autism are alike)
  • Autism itself does not affect life expectancy.
  • Currently there is no cure for autism, though with early intervention and treatment, the diverse symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved and in some cases completely overcome.