Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first two years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.
It is one of the fastest growing diagnoses in children. An estimated 1 in 150 children has autism, and the numbers are even higher for boys. Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a startling rate of 10-17 percent per year. At this rate, the Autism Society estimates that the prevalence of autism could reach 4 million Americans in the next decade.
Both children and adults on the autism spectrum typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. Autism is treatable in many situations, but there is no cure for the disease. In fact, researchers are still searching for a definitive cause for this disorder.
About.com - Causes of Autism
People on the autism spectrum have highly differentiated needs. Some people need only mild interventions and behavioural tools to help them function while others need significant medical care. For the first steps to take, its important to connect with others.
To learn even more about what autism is please follow this link to the Autism Society of America