What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder that can severely impair an individual’s ability to communicate, interact with others, play, develop interests, and learn from typical environments. Because there are varying degrees of symptoms and behaviors identified with individuals with autism, it is also referred to as an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

For example. language may be delayed, disordered, or may not develop at all. Individuals with autism may lack the ability to comprehend or to express non-vocal communications such as gestures or facial expressions. They may appear uninterested in others, may lack ability to understand how others think and feel, or may demonstrate unusual interactions with people, for example, extreme dependency or “clinginess” to one caregiver.
Young children with autism often fail to show, bring, or point out things of interest to their parents or others. Make-believe and social play may not develop normally. Repetitive, stereotypic motor mannerisms may be observed. Some individuals with autism may be intensely preoccupied with a few objects or repetitive ritualistic activities.
Autism Spectrum Disorders roughly affect 1 in 150 children. The cause is unknown. No medical “cure” for autism exists, however with effective treatment, there is hope.

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What To Look For

An early diagnosis is critical. If by 12-18 months of age, your child, or a child you know is exhibiting two or more of the characteristics listed below, FEAT/RI encourages you to seek a developmental evaluation from qualified professionals:
Some (but not all) children with Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) also exhibit some of the following characteristics:
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