Today 1 in 88 children is diagnosed with autism, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whether you've wondered about your own child's development or know another child who is affected by autism, here's what you need to know about this increasingly common disorder.
What Is Autism?
Autism is a complex developmental brain disorder that affects a person's behavior, social skills and communication. Symptoms usually manifest before age 3 and can cause delays in many areas of development to varying degrees. Autism is one of the conditions classified as a 'Pervasive Developmental Disorder,' along with Asperger's Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). These disorders are all characterized by impairments in many fundamental skills, especially those involving communication and social interaction.