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What is Autism? Autism Awareness Month


Autism is a neurodevelopmental difference that can affect a person’s behavior and communication abilities.

Autism is called a “spectrum” disorder because there are a wide range of symptoms and the level of severity can vary.

Autism can lead to a different way of perceiving, processing, and interacting with people and life events. Autistic individuals often express thoughts and feelings, and interact with people differently than people without autism.

Signs of Autism vary from individual to individual. No matter the signs, they typically become evident in early childhood.

Here are a few examples of signs parents may see in their young children who have autism:

  • Not responding to their name
  • Avoid eye contact
  • Have no speech or have delayed speech
  • Do repetitive motions or stimming
  • Have low social skills

Here are a few examples of signs of Autism in Adults:

  • Difficulty perceiving how others feel in social situations
  • Trouble keeping up in conversation
  • Challenges with emotional regulation
  • Exhibiting strong, specific interests
  • Engaging in repetitive or routine behaviors

Gender can also play a role in how Autism shows in children and adults as reported by ADDitude.

Women and girls are less repetitive and have broader areas of play, are more likely to able to respond to social cues, and may have increased focus. Women and girls who have Autism can have specific interests, but they are more likely to appear more mainstream.

Men and boys have more repetitive and limited areas of play. Early on in life, boys can experience social and communication issues, have ‘less typical’ interests and more confrontational behavior among peers.

If you feel you or a loved one has Autism, bring it up with your primary care physician and they can guide you to a resource for diagnosis.

Elite DNA Behavioral Health’s Occupational Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis and Speech Therapy teams in Southwest Florida can support children and adults who have an Autism diagnosis, and our state-wide therapy and psychiatry teams can help support individuals with Autism who experience co-occuring mental health issues.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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