A developmental disorder that is present prior to the age of 3 that affects normal development of communication and social skills. Other behaviors that may be present include preoccupation with parts of objects, hand or finger flapping (self-stimulating behavior), body rocking or self-injurious behavior. Autism is usually considered on a spectrum ranging from the more severe autistic disorder usually detected early in a child's life, to high functioning autism which may not be identified until later.
A complex developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them. The term autistic spectrum is often used because the condition varies from person to person; some people with the condition may also have accompanying learning disabilities, while others are much more able with average or above average intelligence. Despite the wide-ranging differences, everyone with a disorder on the spectrum has difficulty with interaction, social interaction and imagination.
Children who show some, but not all, of the features of classical autism.