Autism spectrum disorder is a difference in the way a person's brain develops and uses information. People with autism may have trouble learning in school, communicating, and relating to others.
People with autism also may move their bodies in unusual ways, like flapping their hands. They may repeat favorite lines from movies of TV shows.
Sometimes they get super-focused on a single topic or hobby. No two people with autism act the same.
People are born with autism, but no one knows exactly what causes it. Problems during pregnancy and around the time of birth raise the chance of getting autism. Doctors check babies and little kids for signs of autism at each checkup visit.
A parent may think that something is wrong and tell the doctor. Maybe the child is old enough to speak but doesn't.
Or a kid doesn't seem interested in people or plays in unusual ways. If the doctor suspects autism, a team of experts which may include doctors, a psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, and a special education teacher will evaluate a child.
There is no cure for autism, but treatment can make a big difference. The sooner treatment starts, the better. With therapy, people with autism learn language, improve in school, and build social skills.