What is Autism?

Autism is a disorder in which the mind develops in a way that is against the course of natural development for a child. An individual is placed somewhere on the spectrum between being mildly impaired and severely disabled. Individuals with autism are often more enthralled by their environment than in relationship with other people.  Developmental delays can be noticed in verbal skills, social skills, or fine motor skills.  There is a wide variety of challenges faced, depending on where the individual falls on the spectrum.  Some common characteristics include, a limited interest in social interactions, difficulty in communication, finding comfort in routine, and self-stimulation from repetitive behavior.

Scientists have yet to find a direct cause of autism, although it is known to be a genetically based disorder. A child can be diagnosed with autism as early as 6-18 months.  Once diagnosed, scientists have found that the earlier therapy intervention begins, the better the prognosis will be.

What is Asperger’s?

While Asperger’s syndrome used to be a separate disorder, it is now just a category in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Asperger’s falls on the higher-functioning end of the spectrum.  Children with Asperger’s often have challenges in non-verbal communication, difficulty in social situations, and consistent unusual mannerisms, however, specific behaviors vary from child to child.