What’s a developmental disability? Am I okay?

Autism is a developmental disability. A developmental disability is a type of disability that starts when someone is very young. Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy are other examples of developmental disabilities.

Most developmental disabilities are there when someone is born. Autistic people are born autistic, and we will be autistic for our entire lives. An autistic person never stops being autistic.

It can be hard to tell if people are autistic when they are very young, since most babies look and act the same. Autistic babies may not seem like they are autistic, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t autistic. You just can’t tell yet!

Most of what we know about autism was learned by studying kids. Autistic adults don’t look or act the same as autistic kids. We might learn how to look ‘less autistic’, or hide parts of ourselves. We learn to act like the non-autistic people around us. This confuses people, so they might think autism can ‘go away’ when an autistic kid gets older. But we are autistic our whole lives.

Developmental disabilities are normal, and they are an important part of the world. Autism is a normal part of life, not a sickness or a disease. There’s nothing wrong with being autistic. It is just one way to be a person!

Autism changes how we live our lives. Sometimes, autism might make things harder, but there are also lots of good things about being autistic. We wouldn’t be the same people if we weren’t autistic. We can be proud of who we are.