Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees.
While there is currently no known single cause of autism, early diagnosis helps a person receive the support and services that they need, which can lead to a quality life filled with opportunity.
Characteristics & Diagnosis
Autism is characterized in the DSM-V by:
- Persistent differences in communication, interpersonal relationships, and social interaction across different environments
What this can look like: Being nonverbal or having atypical speech patterns, having trouble understanding nonverbal communication, difficulty making and keeping friends, difficulty maintaining typical back-and-forth conversational style
- Restricted and repetitive behavior, patterns, activities and interests
What this can look like: Repeating sounds or phrases (echolalia), repetitive