When a child is autistic, it means that he or she has autism, a brain disorder that can result in impaired thinking, feeling, and social functioning. In many cases, children with this disorder will have difficulties with social interaction and have problems with verbal and nonverbal communication. They may also exhibit repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests. There is no cure for autism; treatment involves therapies and interventions that address the core symptoms of the disorder. For many children, symptoms improve with treatment and with age.
Autistic Children: An OverviewAutism is a brain disorder that too often results in a lifetime of impaired thinking, feeling, and social functioning. Autism typically affects a person's ability to:
- Form relationships with others
- Respond appropriately to the external world.
The disorder becomes apparent in children generally by the age of 3.
Autism (sometimes called "classical autism") is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders.
Other autism spectrum disorders include:
- Childhood disintegrative disorder
- Asperger syndrome
- Rett syndrome
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS).
Experts estimate that three to six children out of every 1,000 will become autistic. Males are four times more likely to be autistic than females. Autistic girls will tend to have more severe symptoms and greater cognitive impairment.