Autism is a natural difference in the human mind where the brain develops and functions unusually, producing unusual ways of thinking and moving, and unusual ways of processing sensory input, language, and other information.


Autism is a neurological variation in the human mind that occurs in about 1% of the population. It is developmental and pervasive, which means that it begins before birth, has effects throughout a person’s life, and shapes development in many ways and on many levels. Autism often produces distinctive, atypical ways of thinking and moving, and of processing sensory input, language, and other information. It can manifest quite differently in different individuals, but in a society designed around the needs of non-autistic people, autism is almost always disabling to some degree or another—sometimes quite obviously, and sometimes more subtly.

Most evidence suggests that autism has a genetic basis. It is not a disease; the neurodiversity movement considers autism to be a natural form of human diversity, while also recognizing it as a disability. Some autistic people find that autism brings certain gifts or advantages, such as a talent for certain kinds of pattern recognition, but this is by no means a universal experience.

List of related media and links

-List of concrete examples

  • Usage example: “Autism, ADHD, and dyslexia are all different ways that the human brain can function.”

  • Case example: Bob didn’t speak until he was five years old and has problems with loud noises, changes in routine, and reading people’s faces. Bob is diagnosed with autism.

  • Case example: Hannah types to communicate and can often be seen rocking or flapping her hands in front of her face. Long periods of time with other people tire Hannah out, and she feels energized after watching windmills for a while. Hannah is thought to have autism.

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