A condition manifested by difficulty in establishing relationships and responding to the environment. The child is often very self-absorbed and may not develop speech normally. These children may ignore external stimuli and others, even their parents. Autism is usually diagnosed when a child is about 1 or 2 years old due to speech and developmental delays. Once thought to affect only 2 out of 10,000 children, it is now as common as 1 to 2 out of every 1000 children, with boys being three to five times more likely to be affected than girls. Though there has been concern recently about a possible connection between vaccinations and autism, this has been definitively shown not to be true in many well-designed medical studies. If you have a question that your child may have autism or has been diagnosed with autism, you should consult with your pediatrician and possibly other specialists regarding prognosis and therapy.