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             Quiet and content, and at 10 months he could play by himself for hours allowing his parents to do other things like read the paper or housework. Unlike other children, Timmy was so much less demanding of his parents attention. His parents just assumed that he was very bright and independent. His parents then began to worry, however, when his older sister celebrated her fourth birthday, and Timmy was only a year old. With all the friends and relatives around, he suddenly seemed withdrawn, preferring to crouch in a corner by himself, and at times crying as if there was too much commotion for him. Over the next several months, his parents began to notice other signs that concerned them. Timmy seemed not to notice his parents' comings and goings as much, and by eighteen months, still had not spoken a word. His parents then contacted their pediatrician and discovered an alarming surprise about their son, he was autistic (Kasari, Wong, 2002). .
             This scenario is typically what parents tend to experience when they first begin to notice discrepancies in their child's development. Autistic disorder is a pervasive developmental disorder defined behaviorally as a syndrome consisting of abnormal development of social skills, limitations in the use of interactive language, and sensorimotor deficits (Prater, 2002). Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction, and leisure or play activities. Though many children with autism make great strides through early intervention, even today, most people with autism will never marry, have a job, or live independently and half of autistic children will never learn to speak (Prater, 2002). Research on autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders suggests that the social and communication impairments are unique and specific deficits, that define the autism phenotype (Tager-Flusberg, 1999).

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