Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to some interaction and social communication problems. Autism is considered a spectrum because the symptoms vary quite wildly. In pre-school children, signs of autism include delayed speech development, not responding to their name being called, and rejecting intimacy with family members. Not fully understanding other people’s personal space, showing repetitive movements or tics, or having a strong dislike of foods based on colour or texture are other symptoms. In later life, these symptoms affect the way a person communicates. Some individuals with autism might have a monotonous tone of voice, whereas some might use pre-learned phrases instead of forming new sentences with different words. The spectrum can result in some people becoming unable to support themselves independently, while others may live a normal life apart from some mild communication problems. The autism spectrum can be diagnosed in young children but is more noticeable as a person gets older.
Asperger’s syndrome is a mild form of high-functioning autism more common in males than in females. Though, by definition, people with Asperger’s have no significant delay in language or cognitive development, people with the condition often experience difficulty with social interaction and sensory reception. With early diagnosis and therapy, most people with Asperger’s syndrome live regular lives.