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Understanding autism as a culture

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Autism is a complex developmental disability that generally can be diagnosed during the first three years of life. It is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. Autism and its associated behaviors have been estimated to occur in as many as 1 in 500 individuals (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1997). The condition is four times more prevalent in boys than girls and knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries.

Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities.

There are variations to autism, most commonly known as pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). When doctors have patients that do not fit all the characteristics of basic autism they generally use the PDD diagnosis.

The disorder makes it hard to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

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