Autism, also called autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a set of conditions commonly characterized by challenges with communication and behavior. There are many subtypes of autism, each with its own unique set of strengths and challenges. Therefore, people with autism can range from highly skilled to seriously challenged, with some needing more support than others.
In recent years, cases of autism have been on the rise. According to the Center for Disease Control, the disorder affects 1 in 59 children in America, and is 4 times more likely to appear in boys than in girls. This rise in prevalence is attributed to a combination of environmental and genetic factors.
1. Symptoms of Autism
Signs and symptoms of ASD usually appear by the age of 3 years. For some, however, the indicators appear at birth, while for others, especially those with higher functioning autism, symptoms might take even longer to be noticed. Studies show that early intervention can help improve the lives of people with autism in later years. Some of the symptoms to look out for include avoidance of eye contact, a narrow interest in specific topics, and high sensitivity to sound, smell, or touch that are considered ordinary by most other people. Other symptoms of autism include not wanting to be held or cuddled, delayed speech, and lack of interest in peer relationships.