Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engaging in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. Autism does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disability. A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three could be identified as having autism if the criteria list above are satisfied.

Links to Your Life

Autism is a disorder that makes it difficult for children to communicate. It is harder for children who have autism to talk to other children and adults. They can have difficulty using words to express themselves and often have a hard time understanding non-verbal signs, like a smile, that other people use to communicate.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities: Autism


Asperger Syndrome Education Network (ASPEN)

ASPEN provides education, support and advocacy for families whose lives are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. Inside the website you will find information, articles and Asperger related links.

Autism Information Center (AIC)

The AIC site contains articles, facts, links and resources related to Autism and other developmental disabilities that cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

In the news

Synchronization helps coordinate the brain’s different tasks. A report published in the journal, Neuron, suggests that an out-of-sync brain may be an early characteristic of autism. As Autism Speaks, Geraldine Dawson explains, “Even early gestures and social games require coordinated activity among several brain regions”. Learn more about this interesting report here.


Click here to learn about effective strategies to support children and youth with autism.