These pages are addressed to the parents of a child who has autism.
Autism is a complex neurological disorder. It may or may not be noticed during infancy. It is usually identified during early childhood (aged 2-6 years). People with autism have difficulty communicating and forming relationships.
Autism spectrum disorders, which include autism, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder, affect about 1 in 100 American children aged 3-17 years old. Autism is a lifelong condition that varies in severity depending on the person. Some people with autism need to be cared for their entire life and have other conditions, such as seizures and intellectual disabilities. Others are able to live on their own and work.
The exact cause of autism is not known. But, researchers have identified the following factors that may increase a person's risk of developing autism:
Problems during pregnancy or delivery that could interfere with brain development
National Center on Birth Defects and Environmental Disabilities. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
. Updated June 2008. Accessed September 11, 2008.
Prevalence of the autism spectrum disorders in multiple areas of the United States, surveillance years 2000 and 2002. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: .
. Updated February 8, 2007. Accessed March 6, 2009.
Rapin I. An 8-year-old boy with autism.
12/31/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Rice C. Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, United States, 2006. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2009;58(SS10):1.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a