What Causes Autism?Researchers don't know for sure what causes autism, but it's likely that both genetics and environment play a role.
(Click Autism Causes for more information.)
How Is It Treated?There is no cure for autism. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about substantial improvement.
The ideal autistic treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that target the core symptoms of autism: impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and obsessive or repetitive routines and interests. Most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention for an autistic person, the better.
(Click Autism Treatment for a closer look at treatment options for this condition.)
What's the Prognosis?For many autistic children, symptoms improve with treatment and with age. Some autistic children grow up to lead normal or near-normal lives. Children whose language skills regress early in life, usually before the age of 3, appear to be at risk of developing epilepsy or seizure-like brain activity.
During adolescence, some autistic children may become depressed or experience behavioral problems. Parents of these children should be ready to adjust treatment for their child as needed.
Statistics on Autistic DisordersAutism is one of the most common developmental disabilities. Autistic individuals are of all races and ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Current estimates suggest that approximately 400,000 individuals in the United States have autism.
Autism is three to four times more likely to affect boys than girls. Autism occurs in individuals of all levels of intelligence. Approximately 75 percent are of low intelligence while 10 percent may demonstrate high intelligence in specific areas such as math.
(Click Autism Statistics for more information.)