Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they make sense of the word around them.
It is a broad range of conditions that include challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
Those with autism also have unique strengths and differences. It is a spectrum disorder, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently increased the prevalence to an estimated 1 in 59 children affected. Boys are more likely than girls to be affected.
The most obvious signs of autism that usually appear between 2 and 3 years old; limited or no eye contact, not sharing smiles or other non-verbal communication, no babble or use of words and not responding when their name is called.
The most obvious signs of autism at any age, are; repeats same words over and over, delayed language development or no language at all, gets upset by changes in routine, limited interests, limited diet, prefers to be alone and strong reaction to sensory stimuli (smells, sounds, textures, lights, tastes).