What is Autism?

Autism is a neurological development disorder that affects three main areas of the brain:

  • Social Interaction
  • Communication
  • Sensory

Cognitive and intellectual abilities can vary from mentally disabled to above average intelligence and savant. Those with autism are neither all gifted nor all mentally impaired.

Autism - Social/Communication Red Flags

If your baby shows any of these signs, please ask your pediatrician or family practitioner for an immediate evaluation:

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing,reaching, or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 monthsNo two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

Signs of Asperger Syndrome:

  • Difficulty making friends
  • Difficulty with non-verbal social cues, such as facial expressions
  • No understanding that others may have thoughts or feelings different from his or her own
  • Obsessive focus on a narrow subject
  • Awkward motor skills
  • Inflexibility about routines
  • Unusual patterns of speech
  • Stereotyped or repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests, or activities

Can also have low muscle tone, gastrointestinal problems and anxiety.

If you have any concerns about your child’s development, consult a physician as soon as possible.

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Helpful Links

  • autism.com
    Up to date information and latest buzz in autism world
  • autismnow.org
    A wonderful resource for webinars, many of them are free!
  • autismspeaks.org
    Offers a broad spectrum of information on autism
  • thinkingautismguide.com
    Daily articles on various topics from individuals on spectrum and experts
  • fhautism.com
    A group that offers conferences, resources and updated information

Board of Directors

  • Tom Gangel, Board Chair
  • Susan Mizen, Board Secretary
  • LuEtta Loeber, Treasurer
  • Jack Dysart
  • Rosanne Iverson M.D.
  • Lock McShane
  • Becca Moore
  • Holly Nelson

Staff

  • Lisa Lorenz, Executive Director
  • Diane Yazbeck, Social Cognition Director
  • Amanda Anzalone, Community Cultivation Director
  • Hahn Erickson
  • Brad Kindred
  • Betsy Packer
  • Colleen Quinn
  • Jessica Reagon
  • Everett Simonson
  • Jenna Wilson

Autism News from Medical News Today

A new genetic player in autism

A study aimed at detecting the genetic triggers of autism spectrum disorder has uncovered a new gene mutation, which could lead to better diagnosis and treatment outcomes.

Read more »