Autism manifests itself before the age of three years. It is one of the five existing pervasive developmental disorders, which are regarded as neuro-developmental disorders. They are diagnosed on a group of three behavioral impairments or dysfunctions: impaired social interaction, impaired communication and restricted and repetitive interest and activities. These three basic characteristics reflect Dr. Leo Kanner's first reports of autism emphasizing autistic loneliness and insistence on sameness. On the surface, individuals who have autism are physically indistinguishable from those without. Sometimes autism occurs with other disorders, and in those cases outward differences may be apparent. Certain stimulation, such as sounds, lights, and touch, will often affect someone with autism differently than someone without and the degree to which the sensory system is affected can vary greatly from one individual to another.
[...] Between 18 months and 2 years, however, skills previously mastered disappear, including language and social skills. According to Simon Baron-Cohen, many autistic children appear to lack a theory of mind. They are slower in learning to interpret what others are thinking and feeling. Sensory system Indicators of autism include oversensitivity or under reactivity to touch, movement, sights, or sounds. The autistic may be unable to filter out sounds in certain situations, such as in a large crowd of people. However, these characteristics vary according to autistic person. [...]
[...] Autistic individuals may sometimes also develop obsessions or routines around foods, restricting what is eaten to certain colors, textures or types of food. Communication difficulties Some autistic children remain mute throughout their lives. Others may be delayed, developing language as late as age 5 to 9. Some children may learn to use communication systems such as pictures or sign language. Those who do speak often use language in unusual ways. Some speak only single words, while others repeat the same phrase over and over. [...]
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