Understanding Autism

An overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Understanding Autism

kid boy with autism

What is Autism?

Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. Autism is characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors.

Autism typically appears during the first three years of life and affects the ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a “spectrum” of behaviors that impacts individuals differently and to varying degrees.

Did You Know?

2.5

percent of US children aged 3-17 that have received an ASD diagnosis

1.5

million children and adolescents in this country have ASD

3.46

rate at which boys are more likely than girls to have ASD

What does it mean to be “on the spectrum?”

Autism Spectrum Disorders involve social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges, and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. Symptoms and severity vary widely as each individual with autism is unique. Individuals on the high-functioning end of the spectrum possess exceptional abilities in visual skills, music, and academic skills. They may experience relatively mild challenges and often take deserved pride in their distinctive abilities and unique ways for viewing the world.

For others with autism, symptoms may be more severe, as when repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language interfere with everyday life. That could create significant challenges for affected individuals and their families.

Teenage Girl with Autism

What does it mean to be “on the spectrum?”

Autism Spectrum Disorders involve social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges, and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. Symptoms and severity vary widely as each individual with autism is unique. Individuals on the high-functioning end of the spectrum possess exceptional abilities in visual skills, music, and academic skills. They may experience relatively mild challenges and often take deserved pride in their distinctive abilities and unique ways for viewing the world.

For others with autism, symptoms may be more severe, as when repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language interfere with everyday life. That could create significant challenges for affected individuals and their families.

Have questions? Visit our frequently asked questions page.

FAQS