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What is Autism?


Defining Autism

Autism is a developmental disability typically appearing during the first three years of life, resulting from a neurological disorder. It affects the child's development in both social interaction and communication skills, showing difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, as well as leisure/play activities.

Characteristics of Autism

Every person with autism is an inidividual and has their own individual combination of characteristics. Some may exhibit only slight language delays but have difficulty with social interactions, such as initiating and maintaining a conversation. In addition to lanuage delays, some may engage in aggressive or self-injurious behaviors.

Here is a list of common traits:

  • Insistence on sameness; resistance to change
  • Difficulty in expressing needs, using gestures or pointing instead of words
  • Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language
  • Laughing (and/or crying) for no apparent reason showing distress for reasons not apparent to others
  • Preference to being alone; aloof manner
  • Tantrums
  • Difficulty in mixing with others
  • Not wanting to cuddle or be cuddled
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
  • Sustained odd play
  • Spinning objects
  • Obsessive attachment to objects
  • Apparent over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to pain
  • No real fears of danger
  • Noticeable physical over-activity or extreme under-activity
  • Uneven gross/fine motor skills
  • Nonresponsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf, although hearing tests in normal range.


    View some common behaviors

    Visual Stimming - Blinking
    Visual Stimming - Scoping
    Stereotypic Behaviors - Hand Flapping & Vocal
    Vocal Stimming or Scripting
    Rituals: Hoarding & Collecting Objects, Social Withdrawal, Vocal Stimming
    Rituals: Hoarding & Collecting Objects
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