What is autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) includes a group of developmental disabilities in which information is handled differently within the brain than that of other people. This can cause substantial social, communication and behavior challenges.
ASDs can range from mild to severe; it affects each person differently. While these individuals may share some similar symptoms, there are discrepancies of when the symptoms begin, how severe they are and the severity of the symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) groups ASDs into three categories:
Autistic Disorder (also referred to “classic” autism)
This term is most familiar to the public. People with autistic disorder commonly have significant language delays; social and communication challenges; and unusual behaviors and interests.
People with Asperger syndrome typically have milder symptoms of autistic disorder, including social difficulties and unusual behaviors and interests.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS, also referred to as “atypical autism")
People who meet some, but not all, symptoms of autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. These individuals normally have fewer and milder symptoms.
- About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network
- ASDs occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups
- ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252)
- About 1 in 6 children in the U.S. had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental
disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism