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Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with other people, and how they see the world around them. It’s the name given to a group of conditions that affect a person’s social interaction and behaviour, according to the NHS.
It’s much more common than people think, with around 700,000 patients in the UK.
Patients are born with autism, and it’s usually diagnosed in children.
But every autistic patient has varying degrees of symptoms, and some may need little or no support for everyday life.
One of the key warning signs of autism is giving unrelated answers to questions.
Some patients may be confused by questions, and respond in an unconventional way, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC).
Autism could also lead to having obsessive interests.
Meanwhile, ASD may cause unusual reactions to the way things sounds, smell, taste or look, it added.
This enhanced sensory activity can make going to public places more difficult.
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“Autism spectrum disorder [ASD] is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain,” said the CDC.
“ASD begins before the age of 3 and last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time.
“It is important to note that some people without ASD might also have some of these symptoms. But for people with ASD, the impairments make life very challenging.
“A person with ASD might have delayed speech and language skills, repeat words or phrases over and over [echolalia], give unrelated answers to questions, get upset by minor changes, have obsessive interests.”
A number of autistic people develop unusual interests or behaviours, it added.
Autistic children may line up their toys, or play with their toys in the exact same way every time.
They could also get upset by minor changes to their routine, or have repetitive actions.
Other autism symptoms include hyperactivity, impulsivity, aggression, and unusual eating habits.
More than one percent of all people in the UK have autism, and men are more likely to have ASD than women.
Speak to a doctor if you’re worried about the signs or symptoms of autism.
There’s currently no cure for ASD, but there are ways to improve communication skills and help social development.
To find out more about autism or the National Autistic Society, visit www.autism.org.uk.
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