Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are complex neurobiological disorders that affect an individual’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and are often accompanied by repetitive behaviors or intense interests. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 68 children in the United States and one in 42 boys. The prevalence of autism is reported to be increasing at a rate of 10-17% per year and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
Each child with autism is unique with varying levels of strengths, symptoms and severity. An official diagnosis is based on criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). A checklist we created to help explain the diagnosis can be downloaded here.
Early detection and services can have a significant impact on the child’s development.
There are five different types of pervasive development disorders in the autism spectrum varying in symptoms and severity: Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Rett’s Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
Each child with an autism spectrum disorder is unique, “You meet a child with autism and you’ve met one child with autism.”
Autism affects nearly four times as many boys as girls.
Autism affects people of every ethnic, race and socio-economic group.
It is estimated that up to 40% of people diagnosed with autism are non-verbal – being non-verbal does not mean the person has nothing to say. Many people learn to communicate with assistance of Picture Exchange Communications (PECs); applications on computers or iPads; sign language or Digital Voice Systems.
Autism impacts the whole family.
The following are some links to help understand autism spectrum disorders:
- Ten things every child with autism wishes you knew
- Autism Speaks – What is Autism?
- Autism Speaks – Frequently Asked Questions
- Autism Speaks – Facts
- Autism Speaks
Local/National Autism Resources
Please refer to our Resource page for information on different topics