Autism is a developmental disorder that appears within the first three years of a child’s life. It refers to a neurobiological condition that affects how the brain develops social and communication skills. For examples of how these symptoms may look in children, click here. (?Link here back to home page for Autistic Spectrum Disorders)
Delays in the development of language are what typically set Autism apart from other Spectrum Disorders. Examples of language difficulties are listed below:
- Does not say single words by 16 months of age, or two word phrases by 24 months
- Difficulty starting or staying with a conversation
- Repetitive use of language or unusual word substitutions
- “Movie talk” – uses phrases from favorite movies or television shows, but out of context
- Fails to respond when called
Autistic Disorder is part of the larger Autism Spectrum of diagnoses, but in itself, classic Autism covers a wide range of functioning. Some children with Autism display more severe impairments (silent, mentally disabled, constantly rocking and/or flapping hands), while other children with Autism are social and outgoing but have a distinctly odd social approach.
Some Autistic children recover their functioning, enough to where the diagnosis is no longer warranted. However, there is no known “cure” for Autism, and the best prognosis is for early diagnosis and intervention. If you have questions or concerns about any of the above symptoms in your child or student, it is recommended that you contact a mental health professional for assessment.