Autism is a disorder of the brain. Symptoms of autism occur during the first three years of life, although an individual might not receive a diagnosis until much later. Individuals with autism have problems with communication and socializing with others. In young children, autism affects the development of "typical" play behaviors. Autism is considered a developmental disorder in that some normal developmental milestones, such as when a child says their first words, are absent or abnormal. Autism is considered a pervasive developmental disorder in that these developmental differences affect many aspects of life and may last throughout a person's lifetime. Currently, there is no one specifically known cause of autism and no one treatment. Early special education programs using behavioral methods have proven to be the most helpful treatment for persons with autism.
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