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Autism, impairment in the perception of and response to environmental stimuli, accompanied by absorption in self-centered mental activity. In infantile autism, the development of speech is delayed; ritualistic behavior is usual and may include abnormal routines; resistance to change, attachment to odd objects, and stereotyped patterns of play are the norm. The capacity for abstract or symbolic thought and for imaginative play is diminished. Treatment is experimental, and performance has been found to be better on tasks involving rote memory than on those requiring symbolic or linguistic skills.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Augusta to Barlach, Ernst