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I am proud to be associated with ABA India, a not for profit organization engaged in studying and applying the science of behavioral analysis in treating autistic disorder. ABA India is organizing the 1st ABA Conference in India...

VVS Laxman
Ace Indian Cricketer
Good Will Ambassador for ABA - India


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ABA India is a not for profit organization supported by parents of individuals with Autism, practitioners and caregivers in this special field. I'm proud to be associated with the organization as a "Goodwill Ambassador"...

Gautam Gambhir
Ace Indian Cricketer
Good Will Ambassador for ABA - India


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I' m honored to be associated with ABA India as a "Goodwill Ambassador" for the First Asia Pacific Conference in Bangalore on December 11-12, 2010. I support the work that ABA - India, has set out to do in India...

Farouque Sheikh
Film Actor & Theatre Personality


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HomeWhat is Autism?
 
What is Autism?

Autism is a neurological disorder in which there is delay in development of language, communication, and social skills. For the diagnosis of Autism to be made, the deviant developmental patterns should be manifested before 3 years of age. Autism occurs in as many as one child per 150 children. It is found four times more often in boys (usually the first-born) and occurs around the world in all races and social backgrounds.

Autism is a disorder that interferes with the ability to understand what is seen, heard, and touched. This can cause profound problems in personal behavior and in the ability to relate to others and communicate. However, not all children suffer the same degree of impairment. There is a full spectrum of symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. It is a spectrum disorder with some children exhibiting very few symptoms and no cognitive delays, while some other children with many more symptoms along with cognitive & developmental delays. This makes individuals on the autism spectrum very different from each other. Johnson CP, Myers SM, Council on Children with Disabilities (2007). "Identification and evaluation of children with autism spectrum disorders". Pediatrics 120 (5): 1183-215.

Children with Autism display varying degree of self engrossed behaviors, wherein they fail to show social relatedness to others in the environment. There is a pervasive absence of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, or achievements. In other words, children with Autism may not socially smile at others, or reach out to show their drawings or favorite toy to the parents.

Their communication, especially in early developmental period, is dominated by use of gestures with minimal or no use of language. This behavioral profile of disinterest in other people, minimal use of language and desire to be in their own world, adversely affect formation of friendships with other children.

In addition, children exhibiting Autism have repetitive behaviors and/or restricted interests and activities. This group of children may prefer do to their own activity for hours and not like interruption or change. Any change in routines or places of objects, such as furniture, may induce extreme unrest. Children with Autism do not display imaginative play. They tend to use toys and other objects in repetitive and monotonous ways, such as spinning wheels of car toys. Repetitive and rhythmic body movements, such as swirling in circles, jumping at one spot, wringing fingers, are also commonly seen.

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Signs and Symptoms

Impaired Reciprocal Social Interaction - Symptoms include the following:

• Poor use of body language and nonverbal communication, such as eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures
• Lack of awareness of feelings of others and the expression of emotions, such as pleasure (laughing) or distress (crying), for reasons not apparent to others
• Remaining aloof, preferring to be alone
• Difficulty interacting with other people and failure to make peer friendships
• May not want to cuddle or be cuddled
• Lack of or normal social play
• Not responding to verbal cues (acting as if deaf)

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Impaired Communication - Symptoms include the following:

• Delay in or total lack of development of spoken language or speech
• If speech is developed, it is abnormal in content and quality.
• Difficulty expressing needs and wants, verbally and/or nonverbally
• Repeating words or phrases back when spoken to (known as echolalia)
• Inability to initiate or sustain conversation
• Absent or poorly developed imaginary play

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Restricted Repertoire Of Interests, Behaviors, and Activities - Symptoms include the following:

• Insisting on following routines and sameness, resisting change
• Ritualistic or compulsive behaviors
• Sustained odd play
• Repetitive body movements (hand flapping, rocking) and/or abnormal posture (toe walking)
• Preoccupation with parts of objects or a fascination with repetitive movement (spinning wheels, turning on and off lights)
• Narrow, restricted interests (dates/calendars, numbers, weather, movie credits)

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Cognitive Function

Autism occurs at all intelligence levels. Although about 75% of autistic individuals have an intelligence quotient (IQ) below average, the other 25% have an average or above average intelligence. The performance IQ is generally higher than the verbal IQ. A small percentage have high intelligence in a specific area such as mathematics.

Neurological Function

Seizures may develop in 25-35% of children with autism and can be resistant to treatment. The onset of seizures peaks in early childhood and again in adolescence. There is an increased risk of seizures in children with autism who have mental retardation or a family history of autism. There can be uneven gross and/or fine motor skills (skills well developed in some areas, poorly developed in others)

Other behavioral difficulties

Children with Autism are prone to showing temper tantrums and other aggressive behaviors. General restlessness and difficulty to stay with one task for more than a few minutes is also commonly observed in this group. self injurious behaviors may include head banging, biting, pinching, and scratching. Sleep and feeding related difficulties may also be present.
   
 
 
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