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Rett's Disorder:

A progressive disorder which, to date, has occurred only in girls. Period of normal development and then loss of previously acquired skills, loss of purposeful use of the hands replaced with repetitive hand movements beginning at the age of 1-4 years.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder:

Characterized by normal development for at least the first 2 years, significant loss of previously acquired skills. (American Psychiatric Association 1994)

Autism is a spectrum disorder. In other words, the symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations, from mild to severe. Although autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, children and adults can exhibit any combination of the behaviors in any degree of severity. Two children, both with the same diagnosis, can act very differently from one another and have varying skills.

Commonalties of children and youth with ASD and their families

The Consortium acknowledges that every child and family is different and that their reactions and abilities to situations will vary. However, they also acknowledge that the children, youth and their families have a lot in common. The commonalties must be considered when addressing statewide needs of children and youth with ASD and their families.

Many families and caregivers of children and youth with ASD:

Suffer from situational stress that affects marriages, siblings and extended family relations. The stress levels often result in increased physical illnesses of the family members and caregivers.

Feel guilt and blame about their child’s condition.  According to the members of the consortium this is partially manifested due to the lack of an identified cause for ASD.

Became aware of and reported difficulties when their children were between the ages of 0-18 months.

Have developed low self-esteem as parents, which are linked to the limited emotional affirmation they may receive from their child and the lack of public awareness about ASD.

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