Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate January 2002

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A. What the Disorder is Autism is a mental disorder that severely impairs a person's ability to communicate, interact with other people, and have normal contact with the outside world. In its simplest form, autism may seem like a learning disability. The more severe forms of autism involve strange behavior that can even cause injury to the person. Most autistic people (75%) have mental retardation. One in 500 people are affected by autism. Also, autism is found in 4 times as many boys than girls, but it is not limited to race.

B. What the Symptoms of the Disorder are The symptoms of autism are usually noticed in the first three years of the baby's life. Some of these early signs of autism are children who resist cuddling and don't respond to their environment. Autistic children show a lack of interest in others and do not have the ordinary social behaviors of a child who isn't autistic.

They, usually, fail to make relationships, even with their mothers or people who take care of them. Also, autistic Because of the high rate of mental retardation, as mentioned before, autistics usually have a low IQ. There are some cases where autistic children have extraordinary talents where they are able to remember long lists of things, do math calculations very quickly, and play musical instruments. The individuals with these talents are called "autistic savants".

C. What is the Cause of the Disorder It was once thought that parents not bonding enough with their children or traumatic experiences resulted autism in a child. There hasn't been any proof supporting these theories, and to this day, scientists aren't totally sure what actually causes autism. What is known about the disorder is that abnormalities in the brain's structure and function are the leading factors in causing...