Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) consists of a group of disorders with an onset typically occurring during the preschool years and characterized by varying but often marked difficulties in communication and social interaction. ASD, also known as pervasive developmental disorders, exhibit a varying range in terms of severity. The condition is characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Children might be showing signs of this syndrome if they lack meaningful eye contact, are unable to produce age-appropriate speech, engage in stereotyped repetitive patterns of behavior or interests and/or rigid, repetitive and monotonous play. Autism spectrum disorders can often be detected in children as young as 1 to 3 years of age. Early symptoms may include a marked delay in language or social development. Children with Autism may also have below average IQ. Children with these disorders may also show atypical responses to sensory experiences.
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