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 Japan Autism statistics were given as that for the past two decades, autism research has depended on a combination of public and private funding sources. Coordination of these efforts is one responsibility of the US Federal Government's Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which has responsibility for ensuring optimal utilization of federal funds and providing guidance to private funders. To facilitate these efforts, the IACC depends on the Strategic Plan for Autism Research, initiated in 2009 and updated annually. The document purposefully uses plain language to summarize research directions, in order to fully reflect the various views of the “stakeholders” in autism research.