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What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.  Autistic disorder, sometimes called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS).  Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group.  Experts estimate that 1 out of 88 children age 8 will have an ASD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, (More)

Understanding Autism

  • Early Intervention Can Make a Difference for Autistic Children
  • How Many Children Have Autism?
  • Interventions for Stereotypical Behaviors
  • Recognizing Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Autism & Your Family
  • CDC Autism Report
  • Diagnosing Autism
  • Healthy Child Development
  • Autism Quiz
  • Autism (MedlinePlus)
  • (More)

  • Commonly Asked Questions


  • Do Autism Symptoms Disappear Over Time?
  • Do Vaccinations Cause Autism?
  • How Do I Deal with Episodes of Violence?
  • Is Autism Caused By a Gene Translocation?
  • Is My Child Autistic?
  • Is My Toddler Exhibiting Signs of Autism?
  • What are Tics vs. Stereotypical Behaviors?
  • What is the Availability of Autism Insurance in the Different States?
  • When Do I Tell My Son that He Has Autism?
  • Why Do More Females Have Rett Syndrome?

  • Additional Information

  • Symptoms and Tests
  • Treatment
  • The Body
  • Research Studies
  • Info by Age, Ethnicity, Sex
  • Meet Our Experts

    NetWellness Expert L Eugene Arnold

    L Eugene Arnold, MD, MEd
    The Ohio State University


    Last Updated: Feb 25, 2016