Autism is a complex neurological disorder that typically appears during the first two years of life. Autism affects the functioning of the brain and interferes with normal development of verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction and sensory development. Autism is a spectrum disorder meaning it affects each person in different ways and can range from very mild to severe and is often referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Autism occurs in all racial, social and socioeconomic groups but are four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls. Autism is a national crisis affecting between 500,000 to 1,500,000 families. According to recent studies as many as 1 in every 59 children born today will be on the autism spectrum. This disorder is the third most common developmental disorder, more common than Down Syndrome.
There is no cure for autism or single best treatment for individuals with autism. However, structured teaching of specific skills is very important. Early intervention services have been proven to be effective in helping young children learn and develop skills which other children learn intuitively.