Autism is a neurological difference characterized by Social and language difficulties, and repetitious behaviour. Autism can also be associated with great talent in academic or creative areas, such as mathematics, science, art and music. Autistics vary in intellect and abilities , just like neurotypicals; "normal people" - people with a typical neurotype. Co-existing conditions can come with autism, such as pica, epilepsy, and dyslexia. However, they aren't part of an autism diagnosis.
Strong evidence from Science, is now being seen, that Autism is genetic. (Please see our Science section). Andrew Wakefield's paper on the MMR vaccination causing autism has been debunked many times, and millions of dollars have been spent on proving that there is no connection between vaccines and autism.
A diagnosis of Autism can be a scary prospect to parents, and very often a bleak future can be suggested by 'experts', who often offer very little support. Services can be expensive, or unavailable in many areas. This is often where parents can fall for getting the wrong information, and can be vulnerable to believe quackery.
Classic autism is characterized by deficits in both social interaction and communication. It includes hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity to stimuli from the environment. Although some medical disorders may be diagnosed through blood tests or other procedures, autism is diagnosed by evaluating the behavior of the child. This information is generally gathered through direct observation by the medical professional, and from information provided by the parent. The official diagnosis is normally given by a number of experts, generally three, such as child psychiatrist, developmental or behavioral pediatrician, pediatric neurologist, speech pathologist and occupational therapist. Children diagnosed with autism may fall anywhere along a very large spectrum of talents and abilities.
It is universally understood that early intervention is vital for optimal gain. The younger your child is, the better chance of increased efficacy. This is explained by
Dr. Linda Barboa, Speech-Language Pathologist, in her Book, "Stars In Her Eyes" http://starsinhereyes.tateauthor.com/
Research is the best advice we can give to any parent, and you don't need to look far to get it. There are lots of good books, like the one above, but also lots of resources online, such as these:
Good Facebook pages and groups/ Twitter:
Carly Fleishman: http://carlysvoice.com/home/aboutcarly/
Temple Grandin: http://www.templegrandin.com/
Tony Attwood: http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/
Ethan's story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evjbx9_RiMY
The best advisors on Autism are often the ones who have a lifetimes experience in Autism; people on the Autistic Spectrum themselves. In fact, many of us who helped research and create this website, are on the spectrum.
What is Autism ?