NBDC Interview Series "Black, Gifted & Disabled"
By Jane Dunhamn
What is Autism?
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects communication, social interactions and contributes to obsessive interests and repetitive behaviors. The symptoms typically present themselves in early childhood. There are no known cures, however therapies do help. Autism is an intellectual disability not mental illness as some may think.
How old was your son when you first suspected he had autism?
Hunter was 27 months when I noticed changes in his behavior and language skills. His language was already delayed due to severe complications of premature birth. So Hunter did have language, though delayed, it was still developing. That’s why I found it odd that his vocabulary stopped growing. In fact it was decreasing rapidly. In a few weeks my son had gone from uttering a few words and short sentences to grunting and mimicking animal sounds that his grandfather taught him.