Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life. These signs often develop gradually, though some children with autism reach their developmental milestones at a normal pace and then regress. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent in early childhood, typically before age three.
While autism is highly heritable, researchers suspect both environmental and genetic factors as causes. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Controversies surround other proposed environmental causes; for example, the vaccine hypotheses have been disproven. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood. In the DSM V it is one of three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum (ASDs), the other two being Asperger syndrome, which lacks delays in cognitive development and language, and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (commonly abbreviated as PDD-NOS), which is diagnosed when the full set of criteria for autism or Asperger syndrome are not met.
Early speech or behavioral interventions can help children with autism gain self-care, social, and communication skills. Although there is no known cure, there have been reported cases of children who recovered. Not many children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, though some become successful. An autistic culture has developed, with some individuals seeking a cure and others believing autism should be accepted as a difference and not treated as a disorder.
Globally, autism is estimated to affect 21.7 million people as of 2013. As of 2010, the number of people affected is estimated at about 1–2 per 1,000 worldwide. It occurs four to five times more often in boys than girls. About 1.5% of children in the United States (one in 68) are diagnosed with ASD , a 30% increase from one in 88 in 2012. The rate of autism among adults aged 18 years and over in the United Kingdom is 1.1%. The number of people diagnosed has been increasing dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice and government-subsidized financial incentives for named diagnoses; the question of whether actual rates have increased is unresolved.
Autism is a peer-reviewed medical journal covering research on autism and the autism spectrum. The editor-in-chief is David M. Mandell ( University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine). The journal was established in 1997 and is published eight times a year by Sage Publications in association with the National Autistic Society.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary
autism \autism\ n.
(Med.) a mental disorder characterized by inability to engage in normal social interactions and intense self-absorption, and usually accompanied by other symptoms such as language dysfunctions and repetitive behavior.
Note: autism usually manifests itself at an early age
behavior showing an abnormal level of absorption with one's own thoughts and disregard for external realities.
n. (context clinical psychology English) Pervasive neurological disorder that is observable in early childhood and persists throughout the lifespan, characterised by atypical communication, language development, eye contact, and sensory experiences.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
1912, from German Autismus, coined 1912 by Swiss psychiatrist Paul Bleuler (1857-1939) from comb. form of Greek autos- "self" (see auto-) + -ismos suffix of action or of state. The notion is of "morbid self-absorption."
n. (psychiatry) an abnormal absorption with the self; marked by communication disorders and short attention span and inability to treat others as people
Usage examples of "autism".
Four years back, when Henry was on sabbatical at the National Institutes of Health, he was studying autism, and he wanted to know which genes might account for the difference in communication abilities between people and apes.
Genuine mystical or contemplative experiences, for example, are seen as a regression or throwback to infantile states of narcissism, oceanic adualism, indissociation, and even primitive autism.
PET scans of working clairvoyants, my father found that the areas in the brain most important for clairvoyance were the same areas responsible for autism: the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the neocerebellum.
In that instant Sammi thought he looked solemn, thought she caught a glimpse of the Arie Hague that could have been had he not been caged by the cross-circuitry of autism.
The small handful of Wamphyri diseases were mainly hereditary: various animalisms, several forms of insanity, aggressive autisms, acromegaly and other bone disorders.
As for grotesque autisms - bone and brain disorders - tendencies to extreme violence and madness - 'unnatural' lusts: what else would one expect?
I exclude, of course, the various mutations, autisms, metamorphisms and madnesses with which the Great Vampires were ever afflicted, if afflicted is the right word.
Reversing genetic autism in the infant or brain damage that resulted in autisticlike syndromes in the small child has now become common, but I had been told it was too late for me.
At night it's easy to tell yourself that it's just another aspect of Seth's autism, really no big deal.
MacGregor suggests that Darger may have suffered from Asperger's Syndrome, a comparatively mild form of autism whose traits include difficulty in establishing and maintaining human relationship, obsessional behavior and interests, and often normal or above-normal intelligence and verbal fluency.
All of this unusual behavior was the result of Asperger's syndrome, a rare disorder at the less severe end of the autism spectrum.
A small, rotund man who walked awkwardly, as if he had never really learned how to move his legs, Marty had Asperger's Syndrome, a rare disorder at the less severe end of the autism spectrum.
Yet we now read that second-hand smoke is a cause of a range of ills, from breast cancer to autism.
The goals they aspired to differed from the ones she valued, since rather than seeking to reconcile with their emotions, they sought to minimize them, to emphasize systemizing behavior over empathizing and approach a cognitive state that in most species would approximate high-function autism.
There's a lot more to autism than anyone could fit into a dictionary definition.