Definitions of Autism
The following is a collection of definition of autism that I found on the web. I picked the ones that I feel are the most accurate, and also added my own definition, which is absolutely subjective, from the point of view of a parent raising a child with autism for nearly 10 years…
Brain disorder that begins in early childhood and persists throughout adulthood; affects three crucial areas of development: communication, social interaction, and creative or imaginative play.
Loyola University Health System
A lifelong, nonprogressive neurological disorder typically appearing before the age of three yeas. It is characterized by language and communication deficits, withdrawal from social contacts, and extreme reactions to changes in the immediate environment.
Autism: Autism is a form of pervasive developmental disorder with an unknown origin. It can range from high functioning to severe in nature. Symptoms are a marked lack of awareness of the feelings of others and little or no social interaction or communications with others. Children with autism are often described as "within themselves" and may seem to avoid affection and love. Many children with autism will not talk, are self-isolating and self-stimulating. Routines are important because many children with autism cannot easily handle changes in their environment. They can be taught self-care, social skills and language skills.
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Autistic Disorder: “(Also called autism.) - a neurological and developmental disorder that usually appears during the first three years of life. A child with autism appears to live in his/her own world, showing little interest in others, and a lack of social awareness. The focus of an autistic child is a consistent routine and includes an interest in repeating odd and peculiar behaviors. Autistic children often have problems in communication, avoid eye contact, and show limited attachment to others.”
Yale Medical Group
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Autism is often referred to as a "spectrum disorder," meaning that the symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a variety of combinations, ranging from mild to severe. The Autistic Spectrum includes Autistic Disorder (AD), Asperger Syndrome, (AS), and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Retts Disorder are not usually considered part of the Autistic Spectrum, although they are grouped with them in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV).
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. One should keep in mind however, that autism is a spectrum disorder and it affects each individual differently and at varying degrees - this is why early diagnosis is so crucial. By learning the signs, a child can begin benefiting from one of the many specialized intervention programs
Autism Society of America
Autism is a bioneurological disorder, not a mental illness, which affects the functioning of the brain. Some theories suggest that it may be caused by genetics, viral and/or chemical exposure. Autism causes lifelong developmental disability, including problems with communication, social interaction and physical activities. The major characteristics include slowness in understanding message; problems of the sensory system (touch, taste, and smell), hearing and language disorders, inappropriate social responses (screaming, unprovoked tantrums, laughing, crying, resisting touch, cuddling, and eye contact); sleep disturbances, and in severe forms the child may injure themselves, constantly move various body parts, and show an apparent insensitivity to pain and/or constantly isolate themselves from their parents and all others. There isn’t a cure for autism, but there are a wide variety of treatments that have been effective.
Eagle Mount Billings
My own very subjective definition:
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects all areas of life. But more so, it is a way of life – thinking, feeling and experiencing and relating to the world. People living with autism experience the senses differently than we do. The intensity level and the form in which they perceive the senses are different and we can only imagine how it is like to be experiencing the world the way they do.
Just like all people, individuals with autism are very different from one another in every aspect: Personality and Temperament, Intellectual Abilities, Physical Abilities, Physical Appearance and so on and so forth.
The early diagnosis and the signs of autism…