Autism Spectrum Disorders is a neurological disorder that affects an individual’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others. They share some or all of the following characteristics, which can vary from mild to severe:
- Communication problems (for example, with the use or comprehension of language)
- Difficulty relating to people, things, and events
- Playing with toys and objects in unusual ways
- Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine or to familiar surroundings
- Repetitive body movements or behaviors.
The causes of autism spectrum disorders are not known. Researchers are currently studying such areas as neurological damage and chemical imbalances within the brain. These disorders are not due, however, to psychological factors or, as has been widely reported in the press, to childhood vaccines.
Click each of the categories below to see a list of resources for individuals with autism and the people who love, assist, and teach them.