Autism is a complex brain disorder that often inhibits a person's ability to communicate, respond to surroundings, and form relationships with others. First identified more than 50 years ago, autism is typically diagnosed by the age of two or three. Autism affects people of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Few disorders are as devastating to a child and his or her family.(The Autism Book) While some people with autism are mildly affected, most people with the condition will require lifelong supervision and care and have significant language impairments. Many children with autism will never be able to tell their parents they love them. So the next time you are mad at your parents and don't want to even say the words I love you, put yourself in this position and re-think your decision, you could have it worse. Studies by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention suggest that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders has significantly increased, from approximately four in 10,000 in the early 1990s to as many as one in every 166 births today.
Despite strikingly high prevalence, autism research remains one of the lowest funded areas of medical research by both public and private sources. Currently, the causes of autism are unknown and there are no specific medical treatments or cure. Physicians have no blood test or diagnostic scan that can definitively diagnose the disorder. As such, the diagnosis of autism is based solely upon observations of behavior.(American Academy of Pediatrics)
There is no known single cause for autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in autistic versus non-autistic children. Researchers are investigating a number of theories, including the link between heredity,