About Autism

Facts About ASD

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.

A diagnosis of 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.

Signs and Symptoms

People with ASD often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person's life.

Children or adults with ASD might:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers an autism-specific webpage and various publications at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) publishes a brochure to inform parents and adults on the range of symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), including social impairment, communications issues, and repetitive behaviors. The brochure can be found here: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/autism-spectrum-disorder/index.shtml

The Autism Center at OCALI serves as a clearinghouse for information on research, resources, and trends to address the autism challenge. The center offers training, technical assistance, and consultation to build professional and program capacity to foster individual learning and growth. http://www.ocali.org/center/autism