Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people interact with others, communicate, learn, and behave. It is caused by differences in the brain, and can be diagnosed at any age. Common symptoms include difficulty communicating, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors. Early recognition, as well as behavioral, educational, and family therapies can reduce symptoms and support development and learning.
Scientists believe that there are multiple causes of ASD that work together to change the most common ways in which people develop. We still have a lot to learn about these causes and how they affect people with ASD. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known.
The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is based on the level of support needed. Autism spectrum disorders include social, communication, and behavioral challenges. These problems can be mild, severe, or somewhere in between. Getting an early diagnosis means treatment can begin earlier.
Both children and adults with autism benefit from behavioral interventions or therapies that can teach new skills to address major deficits of autism and reduce major symptoms. While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, intensive and early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children. The autism spectrum is the range of neurodevelopmental conditions referred to under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The stress of dealing with autism can cause social and emotional problems for families and caregivers, and for the person with autism.
While the cause of autism is not yet clear, doctors know that the recent increase in autism is not due to vaccines.