Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Autism is usually diagnosed by the age of 3.People with autism often exhibit abnormal responses to sensory stimulation like touch, sound and light, usually have moderate mental retardation, and have a higher risk for developing epilepsy. They may communicate, interact, behave, learn, think, and problem solve differently than others. Some autistic children exhibit aggression and self-injurious behavior. About half of people with an autism spectrum disorder have an average or above average intelligence quotient (IQ).
What causes autism?
Autism tends to run in families, so experts think it may be something that you inherit. Scientists are trying to find out exactly which genes may be responsible for passing down autism in families.
Other studies are looking at whether autism can be caused by other medical problems or by something in your child's surroundings.
With early intervention and appropriate treatment, many autistic people are able to learn and function productively. There is no cure for the disorder and some people with severe autism spectrum disorders require lifelong care.