Definition: Autism is a general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviours. In recent times all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of Autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Symptoms and Treatment: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas. Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. Each child or adult with autism is unique so, each autism intervention plan should be tailored to address specific needs. Intervention can involve behavioral treatments, medicines or both. Many persons with autism have additional medical conditions such as sleep disturbance, seizures and gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Addressing these conditions can improve attention, learning and related behaviors.
Statistics: In Italy statistics were given as Autism is one of a spectrum of behaviorally defined “pervasive developmental disorders,” which are commonly referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The deficits in social communication and presence of restricted interests and repetitive behaviors result in lifelong impairments and disability. ASD has been reported to affect as many as 1 in 88 children in the US. Reported prevalence rates have risen dramatically in the last two decades, though little is understood about the increase. Epidemiologic surveys of adult populations suggest that the apparent rise in numbers of affected children may not represent a true increase in prevalence rates.