What Is Autism–And What’s It Got To Do With Pikachu?

autism definition

The movie Adam focused on a guy on the autism spectrum.

In the last couple years, everybody’s been buzzing about autism, a brain development disorder that affects one in roughly 110 kids born in the United States each year–plus all the grown ups who’ve lived with it all their lives. But why all the fuss all of a sudden? Sure, there have always been kids with special needs, but in recent years, we’ve seen a ton more cases of autism than ever before–it’s 600 percent more common than it was just 20 years ago! Nobody’s exactly sure why so many boys and girls are being affected by the disorder, but since it’s pretty likely you already know someone living with autism, or that you will in your lifetime, it’s good to know the facts:

The guy who created this cutie was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of Autism.

* Lots of really famous (and super talented!) people have had autism. Experts think Albert Einstein may have been autistic, and the creator of the Pokemon series was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.

* Autism affects boys four times more than it affects girls.

* Symptoms of autism can include repetitive movements like rocking or swaying, difficulty communicating with other people and making friends.

* 25 percent of people with autism are non-verbal, meaning they don’t talk.

* Some autistic people are severely affected by the disorder, while others only have a slight impairment–you can’t assume a person’s abilities just by hearing they’re autistic. Everyone’s different.

* Making fun of someone with autism isn’t cool or funny. Autistic people can’t help that they have this disorder, and their families work really hard to take care of them.

It can be hard to understand people who are different from us without the facts, but now that you know, you can help your friends and family be more aware, too.

Does someone you care about have autism? Have you ever met anyone on the autism spectrum? Tell us what you’ve learned about autism in the comments!

Now, read up on why these celebs want to put an end to bullying!

Posted in: Being Yourself, Fast Facts, Friends & Family, Health Facts, Help&Advice, In the News, Just the Facts, Mental Health Facts, News & Reviews, Spotlight On, Uncategorized, Your Life
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  • Paige

    My 5 year old neice has autism, shes amazing tho <3

  • Aditi

    My brother has autism…but he can speak..can sm1 tell me y its reason n cure not diagnosed yet..?

    • Edit

      This is a delightful book about a young girl who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome is a nrcboeiologiual condition that is on the same spectrum as autism and the accompanying behaviors are as varied as there are individuals who have it.Daisy, the young protagonist is fully aware that she is on the a/A spectrum. She is easily distracted by noises; a classmate’s hair-chewing annoys her; certain sounds, tastes and smells upset her. A grade-schooler, Daisy enters the story as a newly-mainstreamed pupil from a self contained program for persons with autism. Her previous school carries the sad name School of Social And Developmentally Delayed, which automatically screams stigma. Instead of being a helpful program, Daisy’s previous school does not appear tailored to meet her academic and social needs. At Ocean Vista, where she is mainstreamed, she has a very understanding teacher who explains her behaviors, e.g. hand flapping, noise sensitivity, verbal outbursts, uttering non sequiturs as well as esoteric words to her classmates. Daisy often tended to use stilted utterances such as powers of darkness when describing bullying and her spontaneous display of affection when her principal sympathizes with some of her social difficulties. Daisy also makes good use of the Resource Room when stimuli become too overwhelming.Even with good back up, Daisy is targeted by a group of bullies, some of whom are her classmates. In time, she learns to defend herself and makes friends with a boy named Cody who had also attended Daisy’s former school. A girl named Lauren takes Daisy under her wing and is amazingly accepting of Daisy’s explanation of what it means to have Asperger’s. Indeed, a very funny exchange occurs between the girls when Lauren mispronounces Asperger’s, thinking Daisy was making a rather rude joke. That part was truly hilarious!In time, as the girls bond with Cody, Daisy demonstrates her skill at animal training. She had been working with the class rabbit Buster and had trained him to perform tricks. It is through her work with Buster and with her two new friends that Daisy becomes empowered to act as a friend and step up to the plate for someone who really needs her help.This is a wonderful book and a treat for all ages. Please read this and share it with someone. The acceptance of the principal, Daisy’s teacher and Resource Room teacher point up to just how important inclusion really is. I also like the resorces that the author lists at the end of the story. Hats off to this book!

  • Mariana

    My baby brother has autism, he is only 5 and was diagnosed when he was somewhere around 2yrs old. Its really because he doesn’t talk and still doesn’t know how to go to the bathroom. (he only knows #1) He also cant talk which means that we have to play charades every day. Gong out to places is very hard too because he doesn’t know how to behave around people or in places. For example, in Burger Kind or at the Mall, he runs around and yells (more like screeches) and sometimes hits other children and throws things. We have gotten into problems with other parents because of him. Its hard but kids with autism are very kind,caring, and loving but nobody can really see past the “bad behavior.” Now he is getting therapy for speech and behavior and he is getting a lot better. πŸ˜€

  • Katelyn

    Me, my brother and my dad all have Asperger’s Syndrome. With me it is hardly noticeable, I just come across as a little awkward and shy, but my brother and my dad have it quite bad. I find that quite often it’s older people who don’t understand, I had a French teacher ask me in a conversation class for examples of how our family is different to a normal family – I don’t know, I only have one dad and one brother and I’ve never been normal but I wouldn’t change any of us! It does get frustrating sometimes when I can’t make friends as easily or I feel left out sometimes but my real friends are always there for me.

  • Dannie

    My brother, Ryan, is twenty-five. He grew up before they knew what autism really was. My parents were told to put him into foster care, but they kept him. They were told he would never graduate jr. high. He has just now graduated Illinois Institute of Technology with a 3.8 GPA and a degree in Chemical Engineering. :0

  • Anonymous

    I was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 4 and ever since my mom told me when I was 7, I’ve done research about it to understand what it meant and put it behind me. It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I read the criteria and understood that none of it actually applies to me. I went to a special needs summer camp for seven years and understood how much I’ve changed and progressed from the kids I met there. I’ve been fighting for years to shed my IEP and change people’s expectations of me, including my parents. I still have some very dear friends, including the love of my life, who are autistic, and as awful as it can be to see what becomes of many such people, I personally understand what it means to grow out of something and I firmly believe that is what happened to me: many people are born with disabilities, but I feel lucky to be a person for whom it eventually went away.

  • Alexa

    I have had Asperger’s Syndrome ever since I was 6 years old, and I am 13 years old now. It is very hard for me, because I cry and have meltdowns…….

  • Ashley

    My seventeen year old brother is Autistic. It’s hard for me and my parents to realize he’ll never do things other boys his age do like drive, date, go to school and etc. Sure his habits drive us crazy but he’s still my baby bro and I love him.

  • blackangel

    My mom works with mentally handicapped adults. They are no different in personality than others. They do a lot of things with help, but they are not totally dependent all the time. They are not in a nursing home state, they just need a bit more help than usual.

  • Hillary

    My older brother has aspergers syndrome, and when we were younger and he would act out, people just wouldn’t understand. I don’t blame them much, though. To this day, when my friends ask me, ‘What is autism?’, I still find difficulty explaining, despite our greater understanding of these things nowadays. Everything said, we are older now, my brother is amazing (but still a little frustrating, like most brothers ;P), and we’re lucky to live in a place that shows so much support and inclusiveness for people like my bro. (Also, did you know that when Hanz Asperger was studying autistic children back in the day, he called them ‘Little Professors’? Pretty cool stuff.) Anyways, thank you so much for the article, it’s great πŸ™‚

    • Jamie

      it has impacted his cgiontive functioning, I guess college is not an option for him. his son wants to join the military but Dad says no way the military will take him. He’s worrying about long-term care, because he does not believe his son can be self-sufficient. that was a hard blow and depressing. I keep looking for the crystal ball. I got excited the other day because my son said “I love you” … SPONTANEOUSLY! But at almost 32 months we’re not really having real conversations like I am with his twin brother. I say “who were easter bunny’s helpers” and although he knows their names he answers “carrot.” I used to obsess over language and now I obsess over reasoning ability. this past week I’ve been trying to figure out how come nobody talks about what the milestones are that lead to reasoning ability. do you think language and reasoning are synonomous? I don’t think I do anymore. Sorry for the ramble. But sometimes I do think this: that (a) there are too many links between autism and motor issues, and my son has the latter for sure (and I think since I’ve focused on those there have been collateral improvements in other areas, by the way); (b) the eides say that both spd and autism involve problems with long-distance connections, I think it must be those fast-spiking interneurons; (c) it does seem sometimes like my son although sweet and affectionate, has these kind of jumping random associations between things rather than … I can’t describe what I want to, but appropriate categorization comes to mind. It also makes me wonder … what would he have been like WITHOUT the intervention? How easy would it have been for me to LET him tune out? would he have seemed more autistic? Long before the dx, I was doing all the heavy lifting in his development. It was like I was doing floortime and didn’t even know it. I’m sorry this is more of a ramble even than usual. someday I’ll get it together to start my own blog. Maybe one of us should start a website devoted to PDD-NOS. (ps — did I tell you about the blurb I read that they used to dx kids like mine anyway with a combo of adhd and something related to motor?)

  • Leah

    Wow! I love gURL but I never thought they would post something like this on! πŸ˜€ I have Asperger’s Syndrome, I was diagnosed about 2-3 years ago. Let me tell you it’s not easy to live with, it’s stressful depressing and confusing when you can’t understand people’s expressions, body language or what they mean by how they talk, it puts you in a very awkward place too.
    I’ve had special help and it’s really paid off, but Asperger’s Syndrome can’t really go away. You’re born with it and it’s their for life. The best you can do is try and live with it as best as possible. I lot of people think I am a depressing drama queen, but it’s only cause I change my moods very quickly because I don’t understand a lot of things and it puts me in a very stressful place, (Like I said before) I’m 14 now, and I’ve came a long way. I used to not talk to anyone and be depressed all the time and used to hate being with people. But now it’s not so bad, once you get used to some people and the way they act and why they do things and how they act, it’s fine πŸ™‚ I hate changes too, big unknown changes can effect me very badly, just thought I’d add that in, hehe. Also I’m a very truthful person, it’s been proven that people with AS are like that which kinda makes me happy knowing their’s other people like me πŸ˜€ But even though it’s not nice to have, it’s great to see people understanding it. By the way, I don’t let many people know I have it, only my very best friend and boyfriend and family πŸ™‚ And with their support I’m fine at the end of the day. I am just happy I’ve came a long way and one of my favourite websites are talking about it πŸ˜€ !

  • Emi

    My younger brother has Asperger’s Syndrome and has a hard time making friends. But he LOVES Pokemon. He was super excited to learn that someone like him could do something like that. πŸ™‚

  • Cathy

    The reason it’s more ‘common’ is probably because it’s being diagnosed more. In the past, parents may have thought their child was just naughty. But awareness has gone up, and many parents are keen to get their child diagnosed. It means special help can be offered to them and support can be given to the parents.
    In other words, it’s probably not much more common than 20 years ago, but it’s being understood and thus diagnosed more.