Autism is a spectrum of closely related disorders with a shared core of symptoms. Autism spectrum disorders appear in infancy and early childhood, causing delays in many basic areas of development such as learning to talk, play, and interact with others.
The signs and symptoms of autism vary widely, as do its effects. Some autistic children have only mild impairments, while others have more obstacles to overcome. However, every child on the autism spectrum has problems, at least to some degree, in the following three areas:
- Communicating verbally and non-verbally
- Relating to others and the world around them
- Thinking and behaving flexibly