Imagine living in a world that doesn't completely reach you, and to which you can't always respond. For many people who have autism, this great divide exists between their world and the reality outside of them.
Autism is one of a group of developmental disorders called autism spectrum disorders. Autism affects about 1 in 68 children. Children with autism usually display signs before the age of 2.
Autism is part of a group of diseases called autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), which includes 4 other disorders:
- Asperger’s syndrome, which, unlike autism, dose not have delayed development of language and congnition
- childhood disintegrative disorder, which is characterized by 2 to 4 years of normal development followed by the onset of autistic symptoms
- Rett syndrome, which is a genetic disease that affects only girls
- pervasive developmental disorder
Autism is 4 to 5 times as common in boys as in girls, and people with autism may be developmentally impaired to some degree.