Conditions InDepth: AutismEn Español (Spanish Version)
is a complex neurological disorder. It may or may not be noticed during infancy. It is usually identified during early childhood between the ages of 2-6 years. People with autism have difficulty communicating and forming relationships.
Autism spectrum disorders include autism,
, and pervasive developmental disorder. 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
. Others are able to live on their own and work.
The exact cause of autism is not known. Researchers have identified the following factors that may increase a person's risk of developing autism:
- Genetic factors
- Environmental factors
- Problems during pregnancy or delivery that could interfere with brain development
- Exposure to environmental toxins
Autism 101: a free online course. The Autism Society website. Available at:
http://support.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_course. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Autism spectrum disorder. American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website. Available at:
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/developmental-disabilities/Pages/Autism-Spectrum-Disorders.aspx. Updated January 31, 2013. Accessed May 13, 2013.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
Updated August 7, 2012. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Autism spectrum disorders (pervasive developmental disorders). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at:
Updated May 14, 2013. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Causes. The Autism Society website. Available at:
http://www.autism-society.org/about-autism/causes. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Rapin I. An 8-year-old boy with autism.
12/31/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
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MMWR Surveill Summ. 2009;58(SS10):1.
Last Reviewed March 2014