Autism 101

About Autism

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact socially. It typically manifests itself in the first three years of life and remains a life-long disability. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or professional in service of clients with autism, this section serves as a good starting point to getting all of the basic information you need about autism, including:

The Autism Spectrum

Learn about the diagnostic criteria for autism.

Common characteristics of autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder affects a person’s ability to socially communicate with others and their need to adhere to restricted and/or repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.

Causes and prevalence rates

You’ll hear a number of theories about the cause or causes of autism. In the past 40 years, the prevalence rate of autism has skyrocketed. Recent estimates indicate that the disorder occurs in 1 out of every 59 children born.

Early warning signs

Researchers have identified early warning signs of autism, such as missing key developmental milestones or exhibiting atypical behaviors. If you suspect your infant has autism, click here to learn more.

The Diagnostic Process

Clinicians rely on behavioral observation, generally quantified through the use of a standardized diagnostic tool. In general, diagnosis is a two-step process: (a) screening, and (b) a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation.

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