What is Autism?


Autism Resources: Using the Web to Understand the Autistic World

According to the Wall Street Journal, somewhere between one in 500 and one in 166 children in the United States have autism. Autism has no definite causes or cures, and can seem like a devastating diagnosis for the patient and for his or her loved ones. However, people with autism can live successful, happy lives. In this Autism Resources Web Guide, you'll find valuable information for those with autism, and gain the knowledge you need to make life as rich as possible for you and your family.

What is Autism?

Use the sites in this section to understand what autism is, learn about its potential causes and familiarize yourself with its signs and symptoms.

Insights for Understanding Autism

  • You'll likely find a handful of terms mentioned frequently during your research. For example, autism is a type of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD).
  • Because every individual case of autism is unique, most online information about autism is purposefully very general. If you'd like more specialized help, try searching the Web sites of autism foundations and organizations.
  • The Autism PDD Support Network has a list of books on autism; many of the titles address children with autism.

Top Sites for Understanding Autism

For an overview of autism information ...
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Symptoms and Causes of Autism

Many of the symptoms and causes of autism are difficult for scientists and medical professionals to determine with certainty. The Web can help you learn about symptom trends and possible causes of autism.

Insights for Symptoms and Causes of Autism

  • Autism symptoms are generally evident within the first 18 months of a child's life. Keep in mind, however, that children at that age often exhibit sporadic or quirky behavior. After reading this section, be careful not to project and read into symptoms that may not be there. 
  • Many medical Web sites offer an "Ask the Expert" feature. This feature can be helpful in offering a basic overview of a condition and answering simple questions, but it should not be used as a substitute for a face-to-face appointment with a doctor.

Top Sites for Symptoms and Causes of Autism

For symptoms of autism ...
For possible causes of autism ...
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Autism Diagnosis and Treatment

Dealing with autism is easier when you're equipped with reliable autism diagnosis and treatment information.

Insights for Autism Diagnosis and Treatment

  • The Web is no substitute for a doctor's formal diagnosis. If the autism diagnosis and treatment information you find at these sites leads you to suspect that your child may be autistic, take him to a pediatrician who can make a diagnosis or refer you to a specialist who can.
  • Autism is known as a spectrum disorder, which means that the severity of disabilities autistics may face can vary greatly from person to person. As a result, lots of Web advice regarding autism diagnosis and treatment is more general than specific. Be in touch with your doctor or specialist for more precise information.

Top Sites for Autism Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect your child has autism ...
To learn how autism is diagnosed and treated ...
For advice on how to choose a specialist ...
To find a doctor who can diagnose autism ...
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Education for Autistic Children

With a few adaptive teaching techniques and an understanding of autistic behaviors, parents and teachers can provide a well-rounded education for autistic children.

Insights for Education for Autistic Children

  • "Autism in the School-Aged Child" is a highly recommended book for parents and teachers of autistic children. It reviews both behavioral management strategies and tips for educators who want to successfully integrate an autistic child into the school system.

Top Sites for Education for Autistic Children

For special education information for autistic children ...
For legal and other resources regarding education for autistic children ...
For tips you can use at home regarding education for autistic children ...
To help children understand autism ...
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Adults With Autism

Autism does not go away with age and maturity, yet many of the resources about autism are geared toward children. Use these Web sites to find resources for adults with autism.

Insights for Adults With Autism

  • We've included some sites in this section that are helpful in preparing an  adult with autism for life after school.

Top Sites for Adults With Autism

For information about the potential needs and abilities of autistic adults ...
For assistive resources for adults with autism ...
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Autism Advocacy

There are a variety of ways to get involved with autism advocacy, and share support with families faced with autism. Use the Web sites below to learn more.

Insights for Autism Advocacy

  • Autism advocacy tends to follow one of two approaches: working to cure autism, and working to help people understand autism. Visit the "About Us" section of a Web site to get an even clearer idea of the site's mission.

Top Sites for Autism Advocacy

To get involved in autism advocacy organizations ...
For message boards on autism ...
For blogs devoted to autism ...
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Autism News and Research

As researchers continue to study autism, it's important to stay abreast of the latest developments. You'll need good autism news and research sources to keep current.

Insights for Autism News and Research

  • Many news sites offer e-newsletters. Subscribe to have news delivered straight to your e-mail inbox.
  • Consider subscribing to RSS feeds to have new content delivered to you as it's posted.

Top Sites for Autism News and Research

For autism news ...
For online magazines devoted to autism ...
For studies on autism ...
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Community Links in Autism

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