What is autism?Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication. Autism causes children to experience the world differently from the way most other children do. It is hard for children with autism to talk with other people and express themselves using words. Children who have autism usually keep to themselves and many can't communicate without special help.
They may also react to what is going on around them in unusual ways. Normal sounds may really bother someone with autism - so much so that they may cover his or her ears. Being touched, even in a gentle way, may feel uncomfortable.
Children with autism often can not make connections that other kids make easily. For example, when someone smiles, you know the smiling person is happy or being friendly. But a child with autism may have trouble connecting that smile with the person's happy feelings.
A child who has autism may also have trouble linking words to their meanings. Imagine trying to understand what your mom is saying if you didn't know what her words really mean. It is twice as frustrating if the child can not come up with the right words to express his or her own thoughts.
Autism causes children to act in abnormal ways. They might flap their hands, say certain words over and over, have temper tantrums, or play only with one particular toy. Most children with autism do not like changes in routines. They like to stay on a schedule that is always the same. They also may insist that their toys or other objects be arranged a certain way and get upset if these items are moved or disturbed.
If someone has autism, his or her brain has trouble with an important job: making sense of the...