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

People who have autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may have different challenges, but the ailments might arise from a common set of genes. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, "The Same Genes May Underlie Different Psychiatric Disorders," 12 July 2018 The state of Michigan on Monday approved 11 new conditions for treatment with medical marijuana, including arthritis, autism, and chronic pain. Erin Corbett, Fortune, "Michigan Approves 11 New Conditions for Medical Marijuana Treatment," 11 July 2018 Wochit The state on Monday added 11 medical conditions, including autism, chronic pain, Parkinson's disease and Tourette's syndrome, to the list of ailments that could qualify a person for a medical marijuana card. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Autism, 10 other conditions now qualify patients for medical marijuana," 9 July 2018 The report also links particulate pollution to premature birth, increased risk of autism, stunted lung development in children, and a higher risk for dementia. Alex Park, Houston Chronicle, "Air pollution poses health risk to Houstonians, study finds," 3 July 2018 Intelligent people appear to live longer, but many of the genes behind brilliance can also lead to autism, anxiety, and depression, according to two new massive genetic studies. Katie Langin, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Chocolate money, the rise of multicellularity, and pet rabbit brains," 29 June 2018 Both locations offer The Constance & David Blacher Children's Special Needs Program at Camp Shalom for campers with special needs, such as autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, for campers between ages 3-22. Marvin Glassman, Jewish Journal, "Israeli counselors, several programs featured at Camp Shalom," 29 June 2018 These kids have autism, cerebral palsy, osteogenesis or other conditions. Mike Candelaria, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Buddy Ball Baseball League a field of dreams for kids with disabilities," 21 June 2018 Wright says Bitty & Beau's employs people with various conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injuries, and some that have yet to be diagnosed. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Man with Down syndrome gets huge surprise from boss," 5 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.

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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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Statistics for autism

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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The first known use of autism was in 1944

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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

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