What is Autism?

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Autism is a form of disorder related to brain development identified in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanner. The disorder is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Although the disorder may present at very early ages of children, the most obvious symptoms tends to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. Under the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there are other sub groups: Autism Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Children of this condition exhibit different characteristics and demand different behavioral treatment. The cause of autism could be hereditary as well as both environmental and genetic factors. Although there is no known cure for autism, early diagnosis and subsequent intervention with proven behavioral therapy can greatly improve the outcomes in later stages of growth.  If this condition is identified prior, their behavior can be modified earlier.

Autism was not recognized by authorities in Nepal until the early 2000s, which has only made the need yet more pronounced and grave – more than 400 children are currently on the waiting list to join SSDRC, one of just a handful of specialist educational centers in Nepal.