Autism is a complex neurological disorder. It may or may not be noticed during infancy. It is usually identified during early childhood between the ages of 2-6 years. People with autism have difficulty communicating and forming relationships.
Autism spectrum disorders include autism, Asperger syndrome , and pervasive developmental disorder. Autism is a lifelong condition that varies in severity depending on the person. Some people with autism need to be cared for their entire life and have other conditions, such as seizures and intellectual disabilities . Others are able to live on their own and work.
The exact cause of autism is not known. Researchers have identified the following factors that may increase a person's risk of developing autism:
What are the risk factors for autism?
What are the symptoms of autism?
How is autism diagnosed?
What are the treatments for autism?
Are there screening tests for autism?
How can I reduce my child's risk of autism?
What questions should I ask my doctor?
What is it like to live with autism?
Where can I get more information about autism?
About autism. The Autism Society website. Available at: http://www.autism-society.org/what-is. Accessed March 14, 2017.
Autism. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/Autism/Pages/default.aspx. March 14, 2017.
Autism spectrum disorder. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml. Updated October 2016. Accessed March 14, 2017.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html. Updated October 21, 2016. Accessed March 14, 2017.
Causes. The Autism Society website. Available at: http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/causes. Accessed March 14, 2017.
Rice C. Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, United States, 2006. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2009;58(10):1-20.
Last reviewed March 2017 by Adrian Preda, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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