What is Autism? An Overview

Autism is a complex neurological disorder that impacts communication, behavior and social relationships, it is part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum 
Disorders (ASD).
Today, 1 in 68 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups. 
Autism affects boys four times more than girls.
Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.


Definition of Autism

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted and repetitive behavior. Symptoms of Autism typically appears dring the first three years of life. Some Children show signs from birth, other seem to develop normally at first only to slip suddenly into symptoms when they are 18 to 26 months.

Autism was first identified in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanner of Johns Hopkins Hospital. At the same time, a German scientist, Dr. Hans Asperger, described a milder form of the disorder that is now known as Asperger Syndrome. These two disorders are listed in the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as two of the five developmental disorders that fall under the Autism Spectrum Disorders. The others are Rett Syndrome, PDD NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. All of these disorders are characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social abilities, and also by repetitive behaviors.

Classification of Autism



- ICD 10