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The Spectrum of Autism

The Spectrum of Autism

Autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder: those affected by it can exhibit a wide range of symptoms and of developmental progress. It is this extreme variability which makes the disorder sometimes difficult to recognize, and may lead to children being misdiagnosed as mentally ill or retarded, when early and appropriate intervention is so crucial to treating children with autism.

In this video, we share in the experiences of several families who have struggled to love and care for children who fall at various points on the spectrum of autism. We learn about the symptoms which first alerted them to the possibility of a developmental disorder in their child, and the challenges they faced in obtaining an accurate diagnosis, and then in securing proper treatment and an educational setting appropriate to their children's needs. We hear as well the perspectives of clinicians and educators who explain the difficulties they face in recognizing autism, and point to some of the common developmental signs which may be early signals of the disorder. These include delays or regression in learning to talk; difficulties in understanding and integrating various forms of sensory stimuli; and failure to develop normal speech, language or early social skills.

Yet the overriding message of this production is that caring and aware parents and professionals can be extraordinarily effective in enabling children with autism to participate in the world around them.

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