Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. All autism disorders have been merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD.
ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances.
Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age.
Each individual with autism is unique. Many of those on the autism spectrum have exceptional abilities in visual skills, music and academic skills.