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Global Institute For Childhood Disability
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Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability affecting a person's communication, imagination and social abilities. It typically appears in the first three years of life. Symptoms range from a mild learning and social disability to a severe impairment.
What is Autism?
This is by far the most frequently asked question. Briefly, it is a severely incapacitating life long developmental disorder that typically occurs in the first three years of life. It causes impairment or disturbance in three main areas Social skills, communicative (verbal as well as non-verbal) skills and in their repetitive and restricted behaviors. Autistic individuals may show abnormal responses to sensations. Any one or more of the senses may be affected. All these difficulties manifest themselves in behaviours i.e. abnormal ways of relating to people, objects and events in the environment.

Autism is known as a ‘spectrum disorder,’ because the severity of symptoms ranges from a mild learning and social disability to a severe impairment, with multiple problems and highly unusual behavior. The disorder may occur alone, or with accompanying problems such as mental retardation or seizures. Autism is not a rare disorder, being the third most common developmental disorder, more common than Down’s Syndrome. Typically, about 20 in a population of 10,000 people will be autistic or have autistic symptoms. 80% of those affected by autism are boys. Autism is found throughout the world, in families of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds. Doctors, politicians, and rickshaw drivers alike all have autistic children.

Causes of Autism

The exact cause of autism is not known, but research has pointed to several possible factors, inclusding genetics (heredity) metabolic or neurological factors, certain types of infections, and problems occuring at birth.

Symptoms of Autism

  • Difficulty with verbal communication, including problems using and understanding language.
  • Inability to participate in a conversation, even when the child has the ability to speak.
  • Difficulty with non-verbal communication, such as gestures and facial expressions.
  • Difficulty with social interaction, including relating to people and to his or her surroundings.
  • Difficulty making friends and preferring to play alone.
  • Unusual ways of playing with toys and other objects, such as only lining them up a certain way.
  • Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine or familiar surroundings, or an unreasonable insistence on following routines in detail.
  • Repetitive body movements, or patterns of behavior, such as hand flapping, spinning, and hand banging.
  • Preoccupation with unusual objects or parts of objects.
  • Hyper activity, low concentration levels, inability to do easy tasks such as tying shoe laces etc.


What is a person with autism like?
A child with high functioning autism may have a normal or high I.Q., be able to attend a regular school and hold a job later in life. However, this person may have difficulty expressing himself and may not know how to mix with other people. Moderately and more seriously affected children with autism will vary tremendously. Some autistic children do not ever develop speech, while others may develop speech but still have difficulty using language to communicate. Often, there is an unusual speech pattern, such as echoing whatever is said to them, repeating a word over and over, reversing "you" and "I" when asking for something, and speaking only to express needs, rather than emotions.

A child with autism looks just like any other child, but has distinctive behaviour patterns. A child who is autistic may enjoy rocking or spinning either himself or other objects, and may be happy to repeat the same activity for a long period of time. At other times, the child may move very quickly from one activity to another, and may appear to be hyperactive. Many autistic children have sensitivity to certain sounds or touch, and at other times, may appear not to hear anything at all. Autistic children may have very limited pretend play; they may not play appropriately with toys or may prefer to play with objects which are not toys. Autistic children may be able to do some things, like sing songs or recite rhymes very well, but may not be able to do things requiring social skills very well.

There are over 40 lakh autistic persons in India. Also Autism is 4 times more common in boys.
Autism is a complex condition. If you suspect that your child may have Autism, start intervention right away. Don't wait for your child to be 'Older' or till she/he receives a diagnosis.
The route to helping your child lies in understanding autism and the unique ways it manifests in your child.
There is no cure for autism, but every child with autism can learn and progress.
Suitable education can contribute significantly to improve the long-term opportunities of children with autism.
Some children with Autism do not ever develop speech, some rarely use language to communicate, and some can go on to graduate from college.
Science does not yet have a cause for Autism; hence there is no cure.
Autism shows no social, educational, economic, caste or religious boundaries.
Autism affects as many as 1 in 150 children and 1 in 94 boys
Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the world
More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with diabetes, cancer, & AIDS combined
Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
There is no medical detection or cure for autism, but early diagnosis and intervention improve outcomes
Autism does not discriminate by geography, class, or ethnicity
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Global Institute for Childhood Disability
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Mobile.: +91 94172 94911 (Sh. Arun Khanna)
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