autism

noun
au·tism | \ ˈȯ-ˌti-zəm \

Definition of autism 

: a variable developmental disorder that appears by age three and is characterized by impairment of the ability to form normal social relationships, by impairment of the ability to communicate with others, and by repetitive behavior patterns

called also autistic disorder

— see autism spectrum disorder

Examples of autism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

And one brain region is atypically smooth in preschoolers with autism. Rachel Zamzow, Scientific American, "Brains of Children with Autism Show Unusual Folding Patterns," 9 July 2018 The workshop is designed to teach social and communication skills to teens and young adults with autism. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Escondido gets 90+ firefighting jackets," 5 July 2018 The most recent addition is a small school that specializes in children with autism. Steve Smith, Courant Community, "Bridge Healing Arts Center Joins Chamber," 12 June 2018 While the impact of technology on teens has its pros and cons in terms of social media bullying and video game violence, the educational and social benefits for those on the autism spectrum are unprecedented. Lindsay Carlton, Fox News, "Teens with autism learn to code, design apps," 12 July 2018 Children on the autism spectrum rarely like to interact with people of their own age. Eam Asaduzzaman And Shababa Iqbal, The Christian Science Monitor, "School in Bangladesh builds confidence for autistic students – and their parents," 10 July 2018 That’s the accuracy rate that scientists claim for a blood test assessing whether a child is on the autism spectrum. Alex Kingsbury, BostonGlobe.com, "Big Data: 88 percent accuracy rate," 6 July 2018 The school also has a smaller program that serves children on the autism spectrum. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "Are dual-language programs in urban schools a sign of gentrification?," 3 July 2018 Areen, who is on the autism spectrum, became confused and ran upstairs rather than outside. Mari A. Schaefer, Philly.com, "Boy on life support at CHOP leaves U.S., arrives in Guatemala for procedure," 25 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of autism

1944, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for autism

see aut-

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about autism

Statistics for autism

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for autism

The first known use of autism was in 1944

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for autism

autism

noun
au·tism | \ ˈȯ-ˌtiz-əm \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on autism

What made you want to look up autism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an open space surrounded by woods

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!