autism

noun
au·​tism | \ ˈȯ-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce autism (audio) \

Definition of autism

: a variable developmental disorder that appears by age three and is characterized especially by difficulties in forming and maintaining social relationships, by impairment of the ability to communicate verbally or nonverbally, and by repetitive behavior patterns and restricted interests and activities … the chief diagnostic signs of autism are social isolation, lack of eye contact, poor language capacity and absence of empathy …— Vilayanur S. Ramachandran et al.

called also autistic disorder

— see autism spectrum disorder

Examples of autism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Much of his accomplishments, though, can be attributed to his parents, Paul and Maureen Tarkington, whose oldest son, Cole, is also on the autism spectrum, said Leigh High Principal Kara Butler. Julia Prodis Sulek, The Mercury News, "Autistic teenager at San Jose’s Leigh High School embraced, lauded at graduation," 6 June 2019 MyLynn, 19, is on the autism spectrum, has mild cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus from excess fluid in the brain. Ryan Gillespie, orlandosentinel.com, "Lorna Doone Park is closed for construction. When it reopens, it’s ‘going to be on par with Lake Eola Park’," 4 June 2019 Milo moves his hands and eyebrows, blinks and makes eye contact during a session that is used as part of their autism therapy. ... Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "Robots Take a Turn Leading Autism Therapy in Schools," 20 May 2019 The debunked theory that the MMR vaccine causes autism has been trumpeted on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, as well as through professional-looking websites and pamphlets, and by celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy. Ryan Blethen, The Seattle Times, "How do you persuade people to vaccinate? Clark County measles outbreak highlights the difficulties," 13 Apr. 2019 My story about Harry Potter caught the attention of an autism book publisher in the audience. Haley Moss, Teen Vogue, "Telling My High School Class That I'm Autistic Is the Best Thing I've Ever Done," 12 Apr. 2019 Since autism comes in several subtypes, connect with parents whose kids are like yours. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "10 Things Parents of Kids With Autism Spectrum Disorder Wish You Knew," 1 Apr. 2019 Little else is known about him prior to meeting Gypsy, although news reports indicate he had been diagnosed with autism. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Is Nicholas Godejohn? Gypsy Blanchard's Boyfriend Plays a Key Role in The Act," 2 May 2019 That tweet included photos of Shaymaa, a 24-year-old who works with children on the autism spectrum in schools, posing and smiling in front of a group of protestors with signs attacking Islam and the prophet Muhammad. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Meet Shaymaa Ismaa'eel, the Muslim Girl Who Posed for Pics in front of Islamophobic Protestors," 24 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'autism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of autism

1944, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for autism

see aut-

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Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

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The first known use of autism was in 1944

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autism

noun
au·​tism | \ ˈȯ-ˌtiz-əm How to pronounce autism (audio) \

Medical Definition of autism

: a developmental disorder that appears by age three and that is variable in expression but is recognized and diagnosed by impairment of the ability to form normal social relationships, by impairment of the ability to communicate with others, and by stereotyped behavior patterns especially as exhibited by a preoccupation with repetitive activities of restricted focus rather than with flexible and imaginative ones But more than 60 years after it was first identified, autism remains mystifying and stubbornly difficult to treat. About the only thing parents, doctors and policy makers agree on is that the best chance for autistic children to develop social and language skills is to enroll them in some type of intensive behavioral therapy.— Benedict Carey, The New York Times, 27 Dec. 2004 Although the chief diagnostic signs of autism are social isolation, lack of eye contact, poor language capacity and absence of empathy, other less well known symptoms are commonly evident. Many people with autism have problems understanding metaphors, sometimes interpreting them literally. They also have difficulty miming other people's actions.— Vilayanur S. Ramachandran et al., Scientific American, November 2006 In approximately 10% of patients, autism can be explained by genetic syndromes and known chromosomal anomalies …— Lauren A Weiss et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 14 Feb. 2008

called also autistic disorder

— see autism spectrum disorder

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More from Merriam-Webster on autism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with autism

Spanish Central: Translation of autism

Nglish: Translation of autism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about autism

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