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About Autism

What Is Autism? What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.

These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD.

Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes,including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.

ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical healthissues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Somepersons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art. Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age.

Adults with Autism and Employment

It has been established through surveys and research that the number of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders is increasing at an "alarming" rate. But what happens to these individuals when they transition from the educational system and into the work force? It is difficult to obtain accurate statistics on this important issue, but some current estimates on the number of adults

with ASD that are properly employed indicate this number to be somewhere between 10 and 20 percent. So that means 80-90 percent of individuals with ASD are unemployed or underemployed!

With limited resources and funding from public agencies and sources to alleviate these challenges, more and more families are taking matters into their own hands and are creating local, paid jobs for their children and community members with ASD.

We are one of these families, and we appreciate your support: "Fortunately, today there is a growing body of research that

indicates that with the right type, level, and intensity of support individuals with autism can work in a variety of jobs in

their communities" (Dr. Paul Wehman, Ph.D.)

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