Autism (PDD)

Autism is a disorder that may affect several areas of a child's development including language skills, relating socially to others and inappropriate or unusual interactions with objects or toys. In addition to these areas, motor skills may also be affected.

Impairments in these areas can be from mild to severe and this disorder is more common among males than females. Some symptoms of this disorder are present even in infancy, but children are usually not identified until language skills fail to develop, or symptoms increase, between the ages of one and two.

Some symptoms of autism include:

  • No interest in relating to family members or peers-prefers playing alone
  • Inappropriate play with toys with no understanding of its functional use (for example: spinning a spoon on the table repeatedly rather than pretending to feed the baby doll)
  • Limited or lack of language skills development
  • Inappropriate use of language-the child may repeat or "echo" everything said to him or he may repeat commercials, songs or videos verbatim
  • Behavioral problems or tantrums for no apparent reason

There is a local chapter of the Autism society that can provide support for parents who have concerns about their child's development. Their toll free number is 1-877-428-8476.