What is Autism?

What is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disability characterized by atypical, repetitive behaviors and deficits in social and communication skills.* Current estimates suggest that 1 in 300 individuals are affected by autism in the United States.1 Autism is usually diagnosed during the first three years of life and is four to five times more prevalent in boys than in girls. It knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries. Today’s research suggests that autism is a genetic disorder that is possibly triggered by environmental factors. There is no known cure for autism at this time, but early diagnosis and intervention can be effective.

Diagnosticians have suggested that Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) are disorders related to autism. Although the diagnoses vary from autism, all three disorders affect social interaction, communication and behavior.

To learn more about autism, please download the following publications:

Also, be sure to visit our Information & Referral page for a list of additional publications, web links and other resources.
* Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) are disorders related to autism. Although these diagnoses vary from autism, all three disorders affect social interaction, communication and behavior.

1. Fombonne, E. (2003). The prevalence of autism. Journal of the American Medical Association, 289, 87-89

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