12 autism facts that show how our understanding of the disorder has transformed over the past 76 years
- Autism is a developmental condition that can make both verbal and non-verbal communication more difficult.
- Psychiatrist Leo Kanner first coined the term "infantile autism" in 1943, but autism symptoms were documented and recognized as far back as the 1700s.
- Autism diagnoses are increasing among both boys and girls in the US, but that is not necessarily an indication that autism is "on the rise." It could just be a condition that is more frequently diagnosed than it used to be.
- Everyone with autism is a little different, and symptoms can range from subtle to debilitating. Here's what to know about what autism is really like, and how it's actually diagnosed.
Autism is a disorder that's spurred by changes in a young child's brain. It is not a mental health condition - autism stems from developmental differences in a person's brain structure and neurotransmitters.
Children who develop autism may literally see the world differently, and the brain changes can have an effect on how they talk, interact, and focus.Autism looks a little different in every child, though, and symptoms on the autism "spectrum" can range from mild to debilitating conditions that make verbal communication near impossible. Here are some key facts about a disorder that is in many ways still a mystery to scientists and doctors alike.