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 What is Autism?                      

 Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of 
life, the result of a neurological disorder that affects functioning of the brain, autism and its 
associated behaviors occur in approximately 15 of every 10,000 individuals.

Autism  is  four  times  more  prevalent  in  boys  than girls and knows no racial,  ethnic or 
social boundaries.  Family income,  lifestyle and educational levels do not affect the chance 
of autism's occurrence.

Autism  interferes  with  the normal  development of  the  brain in  the  areas of reasoning, 
social  interaction and communication skills.    Children and  adults with autism  typically 
have deficiencies in verbal and  non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure 
or play activities. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relate 
to the outside world. They may exhibit repeated body movements (hand flapping, rocking), 
unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resist any changes in routines.  
In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present.

It is  conservatively estimated that nearly  400,000 people  in  the  U.S.  today have some 
form of autism. It's prevalence rate now places it as the third most common development 
disability - more common than Down's syndrome. Yet the majority of the public, including 
many professionals in the medical, educational, and vocational fields are still unaware of 
how autism affects people and how to effectively work with individuals with autism.



From the Autism Society of America's web page [] entitled                           
  'What is Autism?" developed and maintained on behalf of the ASA by Catriona Johnson & Ben Dorman.                    
Autism Society of America, 7910 Woodmont Ave,
Suite 650, Bethesda, MD 20814-3015                             
tel: 1-800-3AUTISM (301) 657-0881; fax: (301) 657-0869.                                         



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