7 Facts About Autism

child looking into the distance
  1. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. There are three types:
    • Autistic Disorder: aka “classic” autism. People with this usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many also have intellectual disabilities.
    • Asperger Syndrome: Symptoms are often milder than that of autistic disorder. People with Asperger Syndrome might have social challenges, but typically don’t have problems with language or intellectual disability.
    • Pervasive Developmental Disorder: Or not otherwise specified. Those with the disorder meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger Syndrome but not all.
  2. ASDs begin before the age of 3 and last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms can improve over time.
  3. Experts estimate that 1 in 88 children has an ASD.
  4. Boys are five times more likely than girls to have an ASD.
  5. Scientists aren’t certain what causes ASD, but believe that genetics and environment play a role.
  6. Children who have a sibling or parent with an ASD are at a higher risk for also having an ASD.
  7. Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S

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Center for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke