The definition of autism is "a pervasive developmental disorder of children, characterized by impaired communication, excessive rigidity, and emotional detachment" as defined by Dictionary.com and is a part of the autism spectrum disorder that is found in both children and adults. It is difficult to define autism completely because many people, depending on where they fall on the spectrum of autism, have different autism symptoms, reports the Autism Speaks Foundation.
In fact, it is possible for some people with autism to go their entire lives without realizing that they have the condition because they are high functioning. While doctors are still trying to determine what specifically causes autism, it has been shown that autism is created through a combination of environmental factors and genetic factors. It appears that these factors, which may be completely normal on their own, combine to create the disorder.
People with autism are universal in the way that they suffer with the ability to communicate; however, they vary in how severe that inability is, reports WebMD. Some people will have trouble with maintaining eye contact, developing language as they grow and understanding, as well as using common social cues. Treatment usually involves a specific therapist who can help the child or adult learn how to communicate effectively through tools that other children seem to learn innately, such as maintaining eye contact from time to time when speaking with someone, reports the Autism Speaks Foundation.