What Is Autism?

One challenge in helping kids with the disorder is defining it, but there are three common symptoms. Watch this video from the Child Mind Institute.


If you're a parent of a child with autism, you may wonder what is that mean having autism? You may hope that there would be some kind of good diagnostic test, someone could take a picture of your child's brain, will do a study of your child's blood and make a diagnosis. We're not there yet. It's defined as a syndrome. It's defined by symptoms that's clustered together. The first one is impaired communication. People don't use language in the same way as is they might to communicate well with other people. The second one is impaired social interactions. People have trouble reading social queues, they still may attach, they still may wanna be around other people but they don't figure out how to get engaged with people, sharing attention, emphatically understanding another. The third is that there are repetitive stereotyped or rigid type behaviors. Well, it's time to cluster together in a disorder that we increasingly or referring to as autisms meaning there isn't one type of autism. There's a saying that says if you've seen one child with autism, you've seen one child with autism. They're all a bit different. They all have something that clusters together around those 3 symptoms but are unique to that particular child. It's part of what makes it so challenging to say how do we define it and then how do we treat it. We're doing better but it's a complex disorder.

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