What is Autism?

Child school of Autism in Hanoi
source: Flickr

We all strive to establish our uniqueness. We always try to stand out from the crowd but isolate people who are naturally different. For example, people with disabilities or disorders like Autism, Down’s Syndrome, Dyslexia, etc. 


Autism by basic definition is a disorder that affects a person’s interactive and communicative skills.

It is not just one disorder, but a spectrum of variable disorders that are grouped under what we call Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The key criteria to be met in order to be diagnosed with Autism are three tier –

( the individual has )

  • a significant amount of impairment in responding to social interaction,
  • difficulty in regulating their behavior, actions, and imagination.
  • a significant difficulty in communicating or using language


The signs of ASD can manifest during infancy and diagnosis for the same can be done before the age of three, but in most cases, physicians may not recognize it immediately and would disregard it to be a phase.

Therefore, diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder may not always be immediate.

Uniqueness in Autism

What makes this disorder so unique is the way it unfolds. Each individual has their own way of displaying autism. Therefore the display of the symptoms is also different. In some individuals, it may be a delay in development, in some, it may be unusual behavior. The severity and effect are different for each person. There is no one way of therapy or cure.

All individuals have their unique customizations.

Signs and Symptoms

We can always look out for evident signs and signals.

For example, lack of eye contact.

They are unable to understand another person’s perspective. Hence they are taken as people that are cold or not understanding. They may even misinterpret social cues or display a lack of concern for the other person.

Complete mutism or very restricted communication is also a possibility. An autistic person has extreme restrictions in their behavior and imagination. They have a particular routine, a particular way of doing things, a particular order things have to follow.

At times they even display repetitive behavior (body rocking, head banging etc).

Therapies and Treatments

ASD may not have a ‘cure’ but it has many treatments, therapies, and intervention programs that successfully help the individual live a nearly normal independent life. This becomes especially important to notice because we need to start being more empathetic to their problems.


The intelligence of people with Autism is not always lowered. In fact, a lot of autistic people have either a high IQ or an inclined aptitude for a particular skill. Rather than denying them everyday opportunities, we should give them a chance to prove themselves just like everyone else.

Nikitha Menon

With the pursuit of knowledge and love for the written word, Nikhita Menon tries to explore the world of disabilities, disorders, diseases and all stigma associated. She is a fresh college graduate from Christ University, Banglore majored in English, Psychology and Media Communication.


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