What Does Autism Mean?
Autism (pronounced: aw-tih-zum) causes kids to experience the world differently from the way most other kids do. It's hard for kids with autism to talk with other people and express themselves using words. Kids who have autism usually keep to themselves and many can't communicate without special help.
They also may react to what's going on around them in unusual ways. Normal sounds may really bother someone with autism - so much so that the person covers his or her ears. Being touched, even in a gentle way, may feel uncomfortable.
Kids with autism often can't make connections that other kids make easily. For example, when someone smiles, you know the smiling person is happy or being friendly. But a kid with autism may have trouble connecting that smile with the person's happy feelings.
A kid who has autism also has 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 doubly frustrating then if a kid can't come up with the right words to express his or her own thoughts.
Common Characteristics of Autism
Autism affects about 1 in every 100 kids, but no one knows what causes it. Some scientists think that some kids might be more likely to get autism because it or similar disorders run in their families.
Knowing the exact cause of autism is hard because the human brain is very complicated.
Each neuron in the brain may have hundreds or thousands of connections that carry messages to other nerve cells in the brain and body.
The connections and the chemical messengers they send (called neurotransmitters) let the neurons that help you see, feel, move, remember, and work together as they should. >> Read More
What it means to have Autism
A kid who has autism also has trouble linking words to their meanings. Imagine trying to understand what someone is saying if you didn't know what her words really mean.
It's doubly frustrating then if a kid can't come up with the right words to express his or her own thoughts.
Autism causes kids to act in unusual ways. They might flap their hands, say certain words over and over, have temper tantrums, or play only with one particular toy.
Most kids with autism don't like changes in routines. >> Read More