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Characteristic Behaviors of Autism

Autism is characterized by three distinctive behaviors. Autistic children:
  • Have difficulties with social interaction
  • Display problems with verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Exhibit repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests.
Some people with the condition can function at a relatively high level, with speech and intelligence intact. Others have serious cognitive impairments and language delays, and some never speak.
In addition, individuals with autism may seem closed off and shut down, or locked into repetitive behaviors and rigid patterns of thinking. An infant may avoid eye contact, seem deaf, and abruptly stop developing language. The child may act as if unaware of the coming and going of others, or physically attack and injure others without provocation. Infants with autism often remain fixated on a single item or activity, rock or flap their hands, seem insensitive to burns and bruises, and may even mutilate themselves.

What Causes It?

Scientists aren't certain what causes autism, but it's likely that both genetics and environment play a role.

Treatment for Autism

There is no cure for the disorder. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about substantial improvement.
The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that target the core symptoms of the condition:
  • Impaired social interaction
  • Problems with verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Obsessive or repetitive routines and interests.
Most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
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Information About Autism

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