What is Autism?

Autism is a development neurological disorder that affects communication, social skills and behaviors.  It falls under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders, which include Pervasive Developmental Disorders – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.  Autism may include repetitive language (called echolalia), hand flapping, twirling or rocking.  There may be little to no eye contact and great difficulty with social relationships.  Symptoms of autism usually begin before the age of 3 years old.  Each child is very different from the next and therefore needs very individualized support.

Parents usually notice signs in the first couple years of life.  Sometimes children develop autism gradually and other times child develop more normally and then regress suddenly.  Early intervention can help children tremendously and is highly recommended.  There is no known cure at this time.

Click here to link to the Autism Speaks ASD Video Glossary, an innovative web-based tool designed to help parents and professionals learn more about the early red flags and diagnostic features of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

The Autism Council of Utah provides the community with a “Fast Start Checklist,” a list of general guidelines to get started on initial evaluation and treatment.


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