www.whyville.net Nov 27, 2003 Weekly Issue

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To put it simply, autism is a disability that occurs in children in their first three years of life, and usually stays with them as they grow to be adults. Autism affects brain development in areas like social interaction, verbal and even non-verbal communication skills.

How you deal with other people can be affected greatly by a disease such as autism. Autistic people don't socialize with others like most people do. Some people do make eye contact, while others don't. Some autistic individuals have trouble understanding other's feelings and can find difficulty in things most of us find simple- like talking and relating with others.

Autism also affects things such as speech, language, and communication. An estimated 40% of children with autism don't talk at all. Those that do have a problem called echolalia, which is when they repeat something that was said to them before. For example, if you were to ask someone with echolalia "What would you like to drink?" they would respond with "What would you like to drink?" It can also seem sometimes that people with autism can't control the volume of their voice. They can talk completely fine, and know a lot of words, but they can have trouble listening to other people.

Autism can cause repeated behaviors, and depending on the individual, can require a daily routine where things are always the same. The reason for a daily routine is because if things don't change, they will know what to expect, and how to behave. What will happen if the routine changes, you ask? There could be trouble.

No one knows for sure what exactly causes autism. Scientists believe that it is hereditary and that some environmental factors play a part in it.

Unfortunately, there is no cure at the moment for this disability, although early education can be helpful for children. There is medicine that can help in some cases, but skill-teaching is presently the most effective treatment.



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