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            Running Head: AUTISM EFFECTS SOCIETY.
             Autism is a disorder that severely impairs development of a person's ability to communicate, interact with other people, and maintain normal contact with the outside world. The disorder was first described in 1943 by American psychiatrist Leo Kanner. One of the most common developmental disabilities, autism affects a large and growing percentage of the world's population and appears before the age of three. It is by far more common in males than in females (25)(Woods, 2001).
             Autism Effects Society.
             Autism is a complex developmental disability that usually becomes apparent in the first three years of life. It is the result of a nervous disorder that affects brain functions. Autism affects normal brain growth in areas of social interaction and communication skills (8)(Simmons, 1997).
             The general public knows very little about autism. What little people do know usually comes from movies and television and is often incorrect. Thus many people have "common misconceptions- about autism, and the people affected by it. These misconceptions often lead people to look down upon those suffering from autism.
             Knowledge can hopefully expel these "common misconceptions."" .
             Children with autism or PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) are either born with it or they are born with the potential to develop it. Bad parenting is not a cause. Autism is not a mental illness. Autistic children are not kids who choose to misbehave (3)(Autism Society of America, 2002).
             Stupidity/mental retardation is another one of society's misconceptions. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, many children and adults with autism may make eye contact, show affection, smile and laugh, and demonstrate a variety of emotions, although at varying degrees. Like other children, they respond to their environment in both positive and negative ways (16)(Chanoff, 1993).
             Some believe that brain damage causes autism; however, there is no concrete evidence.

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