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Autism is a profound mental disorder marked by an inability to communicate and interact with others. The condition's characteristics include language abnormalities, restricted and repetitive interests, and the appearance of these characteristics in early childhood. The disorder begins in infancy, but typically is not diagnosed until the ages two to five. Although individuals with autism are more likely to be mentally retarded than other individuals some people with the disorder have a high intelligence level. The cause of autism is unknown although it is probably biological in origin.

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