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What Is Autism?

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 What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability. Children and adults with ASD have difficulty with social communication/interaction and exhibit restrictive and/or repetitive patterns of behavior. There is a wide range of ability among people with ASD. Some people with ASD are gifted and others need significant levels of support to ensure their health and well-being. While great strides are being made, there is no known cause, or a known singular effective treatment for ASD.

People with ASD have challenges in the areas of social communication/interaction and restricted/repetitive behaviors. A few examples:

Social Communication/ Interaction

Restrictive/Repetitive Behavior

No two people with autism are the same. There is no single behavior that is always present in every individual with ASD.

Resources and Data on Autism Today

View our Autism State Profiles for a state-of-the-state report of ASD services in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have additional information about autism.

Read the full glossary of ASD-related terminology.

There is Hope

ASD is a lifelong disorder. And while there is no cause or cure, nor a known singular effective treatment, it is treatable. People with ASD – at any age – can make significant progress through therapy and treatments, and can lead meaningful and productive lives. Experts agree that early diagnosis and early intervention are critical – early intervention leads to positive outcomes.

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