What Is Autism?

Autism is a hot topic in the news recently, and you may have found yourself asking "What is autism?"

The answer is not an easy one, because autism is a highly complex neurological disorder that is clouded by uncertainty and multiple variances.

What Is Autism: How It Resembles Mental Retardation

Many people view autism as a type of mental retardation, but that is not the case.

Although an autistic child or adult may appear to be mentally retarded, in reality he/she is plagued with a serious disorder, usually diagnosed in children sometime between birth and the age of three.

Autism primarily affects communication and social interaction, and is the reason why it can appear as though an autistic person is mentally disturbed.

The Symptoms Of Autism And How They Vary

One of the most inexplicable aspects of autism is the different the levels of disability that can occur in an autistic child. Symptoms of mild autism can be as minor as problems with communication or the inability to relate to humor or irony used in the English language.

A more severe case of autism often means that the sufferer does not communicate in any way, including an inability to speak.

Communication Problems

What makes autism symptoms so frustrating is that autistic children are intellectually aware of what they want to say, they just lack the ability to convey the message. So, autism is visible on the outside, while the inner thought processes remain intact.

An autistic child knows how to answer questions and perform certain tasks. The problem is that their body does not cooperate.

This lack of communication makes autism difficult for both family and friends to live with. It also causes confusion because an autistic child is unable to successfully express his/her needs and feelings to caregivers and teachers.

The forms of communication that are available to an autistic child, like grunts, are incomprehensible and misunderstood.

Behavioral Differences

An autistic child does not act the same in certain social situations as other children.

Something as simple as a loud noise or a change in routine can send a child with autism into fits which can be violent at times. When an autistic child acts out, it may appear that he/she is exhibiting emotional or behavioral problems, but these actions come out because the child is simply unable to communicate in normally acceptable ways.

For instance, if a child with autism is hot, he may just take off his clothes and run naked in public. This child understands that he is hot and that taking his clothes off will make him cooler. What he doesn't understand is how to act appropriately in this type of situation.

Get The Facts

The occurrence of autism is on the rise, and statistics say that nearly four million kids will be born with autism over the next 10 years. Although diagnosis is more common today, children are still being misdiagnosed and not receiving the proper treatment and accommodations.

Autism is a serious disorder, and a parent with an autistic child needs to gather as much information as possible to enable proper care and development of a child with autism.

Since there are so many unknowns surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of autistic children, it is vital that correct information is discovered, reviewed and shared among caregivers and health care professionals alike.

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