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What is Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others.
It is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and treatment can help families today.

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The late Dr. William Bolman, a Hawaii psychiatrist, Autism Society of Hawaii president, and long-time advocate for those with disabilities, helped many individuals and families address the challenges of autism. Here are some of his experiences that illustrate how each person with autism is different, and how variable their strengths and deficits can be, even while patterns of behavior can appear similar. His observations also point out the pressing need to address major deficiencies in the systems of lifetime support for those on the spectrum.

Autism/Asperger Vignettes #1

February 01, 2012

The intent of these vignettes is to get beyond the sterility of the uncertainties of diagnosis and treatment of these very interesting young people. The dramatic increase in the presence of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is so recent, the spectrum is so wide that there has not been much in the way of ‘this is what they are like in real life’ that is seen by parents and therapists. In addition to impairing our understanding it has prevented us from creating adjustments to help realize some of the real and unusual potential of some.

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Autism/Asperger Vignettes #2: The Story of Bobbie

February 01, 2012

This 23-year old boy is a local boy, an only child of fiercely supportive and dedicated parents who still care for him at home when many families would have placed him in residential care due to his behavior challenges. I have followed Bobbie since he was 5 years old when he was referred because he was so disruptive in kindergarten.

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