Autism is treatable (but not curable as of now, although there is an organization called "Cure Autism Now"). Early diagnosis and intervention are vital to the future development of the child.
A related disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, is a high-functioning form of autism, but this is not necessarily the case. The chief difference between Kanner's Syndrome, or classical autism, and Aspergers' is that in Asperger's there is no significant delay in speech, and intelligence is average or above. In Kanner's autism there is a significant delay in language and usually lower-than average intelligence; Kanner's autism with IQ<80 is referred to as "low-functioning autism", while Kanner's with IQ>80 is referred to as "high functioning autism".
Another view of these disorders is that they are on a continuum, so can be known as autistic spectrum disorders. Another related continuum is Sensory Integration Dysfunction which is about how well we integrate the information we receive from our senses. Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and Sensory Integration Dysfunction are all closely related and overlap.
Some high-achieving individuals are thought to have suffered from autism to some degree. However, autism is more frequently found in individuals with learning disabilities.
There are two main types of autism, regressive autism and early infantile autism. Early infantile autism is present at birth while regressive autism begins at 18 months.
There has been an explosion worldwide in reported cases of autism over the last ten years. There has been considerable speculation as to why this might be, with no conclusive proof emerging around any theory. However, studies have ruled out the speculation that the rise is attributable to an improvement in diagnostic methods.
In the last decade, the population of the United States has increased by 13%. There has been an increase in non-autism-related disabilities of 16%. The increase in autism is 173%.
Some things to mention here: