What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD or autism) is a neurological disorder that results in impaired social interaction and communication skills and restricted repetitive behavior. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventative (CDC) reporting March 2023 that “1 in 36 American children are diagnosed with autism.”

With autism’s growth in awareness, it is crucial to understand this beautifully atypical developmental condition. The textbook definition of autism is a “bio-neurological developmental disability that appears around or before age three.” To receive an autism diagnosis, a vast array of criteria must be met as it is a very diverse disability ranging in severity.

Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known. Scientists believe there are multiple causes of ASD that act together to change the most common ways people develop. We still have much to learn about these causes and how they impact people with ASD.

Autism impacts the areas of the brain that control various functions in cognition and socialization, making social interactions more complex, possessing a (typically) heightened sensory input, and perhaps rigid or “set” behaviors. Due to the characteristics of autism, people tend to think people with autism are incapable of living an entire life, and this is hardly the case. People with autism are fully capable of making friends, maintaining a job, and everything else that makes life “complete;” they may just need a little more help.

With therapies such as Speech, Occupational Therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis, and many others, persons living with autism can grow to become more independent. With early intervention and proper therapies, autism can be adapted, so individuals with the diagnosis can thrive in our community.

People impacted by autism live life like everyone else does, with some assistance. Erasing the stigma of autism being a helpless disability by understanding what autism is, is an essential aspect of raising awareness for persons living with an autism spectrum disorder.

To learn the signs or characteristics of autism spectrum disorder, visit:


Autism Fact Sheet | National Autism Association. (n.d.). National Autism Association. Retrieved July 29, 2021, from https://nationalautismassociation.org/resources/autism-fact-sheet/

Basics About Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) | NCBDDD | CDC. (2020, March 25). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html

NHS website. (2021, July 9). What is autism? Nhs.Uk. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/autism/what-is-autism/

What Is Autism? (n.d.). Autism Speaks. Retrieved July 29, 2021, from https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism