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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how individuals interact with others, communicate, learn and behave. Although diagnosable at any age, ASD symptoms generally appear by age 2. Some infants develop normally at first and then, at 18-24 months, seem to regress as symptoms appear. Boys are four times more likely to develop ASD than girls.

Individuals of all genders, races, ethnicities and economic backgrounds can have ASD. It is considered a “spectrum” disorder due to the wide variation in type and severity of symptoms, now including formerly distinct conditions such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder. 

ASD has two parts: 

  • Difficulty using language affecting how a person perceives and socializes or communicates with others
  • Restricted interests and repetitive patterns of behaviors 

These complications can lead to:

  • Problems in school and with successful learning
  • Employment problems
  • Inability to live independently
  • Social isolation
  • Stress within the family
  • Victimization and being bullied

While there is no cure for ASD, intensive, early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children, adolescents and adults.

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