Autism is a disorder that falls under the rubric of a pervasive developmental disorder. And all pervasive developmental disorders like autism or autistic disorder have some very key characteristics. These characteristics are impairment in language, impairment in communication and that is social communication or conversational communication. Oftentimes, children have impairments in their abilities to monitor sensory information and sensory input, so they might have a heightened sense of smell or sound, or be very uncomfortable and sensitive to some of these things, as well.
Another aspect of autism or pervasive developmental disorders like autism, is that the child may have visual, spatial and motor integration issues, so sometimes fine motor or gross motor skills are limited or less developed. So when we think about autism, think about the key factors, difficulties with social communication, language, sensory issues and poor visual, spatial, motor coordination. And all of this, autism, falls under the category of a pervasive developmental disorder.
And that's just the basic idea of what autism or autistic disorder is.