Autism is a complex developmental disability and is the most common condition in the group of developmental disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Autism usually presents itself during the first three years of life and is characterized by three distinctive behaviors: difficulty with social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication, and repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests. Autism is also a wide-spectrum disorder, which means no two people will have the same symptoms. The impact varies widely, from mild to disabling, and can go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected children or when more debilitating handicaps are masking it.
People once thought autism was not reversible, however most professionals agree that early diagnosis and intervention significantly improves lives. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and behavioral interventions which target the child's core symptoms and behaviors. Today, there are a wide range of treatments and special needs tools available that can be extremely helpful and bring about substantial improvement.