What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects socialization, communication, executive function, and how the brain processes sensory information. ASD encompasses a broad array of symptoms and levels of impairment.
In some, ASD presents as an “invisible” disability in which people may appear neurotypical to outside observers, sometimes resulting in missed diagnoses or unmet support needs. In others, ASD can cause significant social and functional impairments that require intensive, lifelong support.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 1 in 59 people in the United States have ASD, with the condition being diagnosed four times more often in boys than girls. ASD is generally diagnosed with delays or atypical functioning in at least one of the following areas: social interaction, language as used in social communication, or symbolic and imaginative play.
People with autism often have difficulties with social interactions. Approximately 40 percent do not communicate with words. Some may have obsessive routines or may be preoccupied with a particular item or subject. Behaviors that seem odd or unusual are due to the neurological differences and NOT the result of intentional rudeness or "BAD" behaviors!!!!
People on the autism spectrum may experience:
Delays in social development
Difficulties developing and using language
Restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior
Adults and children with autism are often misunderstood. Some may display behaviors that are difficult to understand while others might be able to mask their disability. Many have not been diagnosed and most did not have the benefits of early support.
However, an ASD diagnosis does not, in any way, condemn a person to an unhappy or disconnected life. With appropriate support, children and adults with autism can live fully engaged and meaningful lives, regardless of where they fall on the spectrum.