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Autism, which becomes evident in early childhood, is a condition in which children are so withdrawn that they have difficulties in developing normal social and emotional relationships with the people around them, and in understanding the world in which they live.

Unable to understand what he sees, the autistic child tends to resist change and display temper tantrum. Prolonged screaming fits are not uncommon, and ritualistic use of objects is usual. Odd and repetitive behaviour and obsessions are often seen.

The child fails to learn how to play and has difficulty in learning to cope with people and situations.

The autistic child seems unable to process information effectively and this presents a barrier to normal development and communication. As language has little meaning for him, speech will be delayed and if acquired, will follow an abnormal pattern.

Of the many autistic children, about one quarter will have classic (or typical) autism and the rest will display autistic-type behaviour. Nevertheless, skilled educational and social intervention can reduce many of the problems associated with autism.