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Facts about Autism

  • Autism is the most widely diagnosed developmental disability in the nation.

  • 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

  • Autism is more common than the sum of all childhood cancers, muscular dystrophy, juvenile diabetes and cystic fibrosis combined.

  • Currently there is no known cause or cure for Autism.

  • ASD is about 4 times more common among boys than among girls.

  • ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

What is Autism?

Autism is a brain disorder that typically affects a person’s ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond appropriately to the environment. Some people with autism are relatively high-functioning, with speech and intelligence intact. Others are mentally retarded, mute, or have serious language delays. For some, autism makes them seem closed off and shut down; others seem locked into repetitive behaviors and rigid patterns of thinking.

Although people with autism do not have exactly the same symptoms and deficits, they tend to share certain social, communication, motor, and sensory problems that affect their behavior in predictable ways.

A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.