Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder of the brain functions (definition of DSM-IV and ICD-10) which prevents a person from organising and understanding information. It affects social interactions.
The main symptoms of autism are :
- Deficits in social reciprocal interaction
- Deficits in verbal and non verbal communication and imagination
- Limited range of activities and interests
Autism is a serious disability. Although autism was once believed to be rare, clinical studies have now demonstrated that the prevalence of autism and related Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is 60/10.000. Autism is sometimes combined with other disabilities such as Down syndrom, epilepsy, Rett syndrom or tuberous sclerosis. Even today, due to lack of proper diagnosis and services, many people with autism do not receive adequate care.
Experience has demonstrated that the best treatment for people with autism is early and specialized education which aims at making the environment more accessible to the person with autism and addresses the specific deficits of each individual.