Autism is a developmental disorder of functionality of the brain. Many people refer to the disorder as a disease, which it is not. People with classical autism show the following three types of symptoms:
- Impaired social interaction
- Problems with verbal and nonverbal communication
- Unusual or severely limited activities and interests
Symptoms of autism normally appear during the first three years of childhood and continue throughout the life of the patient. Even though there is no cure, proper early educational involvement may improve the social development of the patient and reduce objectionable behaviors. People with autism have a normal life expectancy.
The trademark attribute of autism is impaired social interaction. A child dealing with autism may not be able to respond to his or her own name and will in most instances avoid looking at other people altogether. Interpreting tone of voice or facial expressions is often difficult for an autistic person as well as responding to others' emotions appropriately. Autism causes children and adults to appear unaware of others' feelings toward them. In addition, autism causes children and adults to be oblivious to the negative impact that their behavior can have on others.