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 affects about 1 in 68 children. Children with autism usually display signs before the age of 2.
Autism is part of a group of developmental disorders called autistism spectrum disorder (ASD), which includes 4 other disorders:
- Asperger syndrome, which, unlike autism, does not have delayed development of language and cognition
- 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 3 to 4 times as common in boys as in girls. People with autism may also have learning disorders or some degree of intellectual disability.