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What Is Autism?

What Are the Symptoms?

Autism typically affects a person's ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond appropriately to the external world. The disorder becomes apparent in children generally by the age of 3.
 
Some people with autism 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 with autism 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.
 
Although autism is about 3 to 4 times more common in boys, girls with the disorder tend to have more severe symptoms and greater cognitive impairment.
 
(Click Autism Symptoms for a more in-depth look at possible symptoms of autism.)
 

What Is Autism? -- Other Medical Conditions

Individuals with autism often have symptoms of various co-occurring mental disorders, including:
 
About one-third of children and adolescents with autism develop seizures.
 
5 Common Relationship Mistakes for Adults With ADHD

Autism Information

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