What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability characterized by neurological differences in the brain. While some individuals with ASD have known genetic conditions, the exact causes of ASD are still being researched. It is believed that a combination of factors may contribute to the development of ASD.
Individuals with ASD may exhibit behaviors, communication styles, social interactions, and learning abilities that differ from the norm. However, they may appear similar to other people in terms of physical appearance. The abilities of those with ASD can range significantly, with some having advanced conversation skills and others being nonverbal. While some individuals with ASD require substantial support in daily life, others can function independently.
ASD typically appears before the age of three and may persist throughout life, although symptoms may improve with time. Symptoms can manifest as early as the first year of life or as late as the second year or beyond. Some children may experience developmental progress until around 18 to 24 months of age, after which they may experience a plateau or regression in skills.
As individuals with ASD transition to adolescence and adulthood, they may encounter challenges in forming and maintaining relationships, communicating effectively with peers and adults, and comprehending expected behaviors in academic or professional settings. They may also exhibit co-occuring conditions such as anxiety, depression, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder more frequently than individuals without ASD.