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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Also called: ASD, Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)

Summary

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. It affects how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates, and learns. It includes what used to be known as Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorders.

It is called a "spectrum" disorder because people with ASD can have a range of symptoms. People with ASD might have problems talking with you, or they might not look you in the eye when you talk to them. They may also have restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. They may spend a lot of time putting things in order, or they may say the same sentence again and again. They may often seem to be in their "own world."

At well-child checkups, the health care provider should check your child's development. If there are signs of ASD, your child will have a comprehensive evaluation. It may include a team of specialists, doing various tests and evaluations to make a diagnosis.

The causes of ASD are not known. Research suggests that both genes and environment play important roles.

There is currently no one standard treatment for ASD. There are many ways to increase your child's ability to grow and learn new skills. Starting them early can lead to better results. Treatments include behavior and communication therapies, skills training, and medicines to control symptoms.

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Also in
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in

Symptoms

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (Autism Society)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in

Living With

  • (Autism Speaks) - PDF
  • (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
  • (Autism Society)
  • (Autism Society)
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (American Occupational Therapy Association) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Specifics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Mental Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Human Genome Research Institute)

Health Check Tools

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)
  • (National Center for Health Statistics)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • (American Psychological Association)

Children

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Teenagers

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Patient Handouts

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