Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a range of problems that affect the nerves and brain. ASD is usually found in children in the first 2 to 6 years of life. Children with ASD often have behavioral and social problems.

ASD is an umbrella term for autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

ASD affects each child differently. Some are able to live and work on their own, while others may have severe intellectual disabilities or seizures.

The exact cause of ASD is not known. It may be a blend of:

  • Genetics
  • Brain structure
  • How the nerves connect
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Problems during pregnancy or birth that interfered with brain growth
What are the risk factors for autism?What are the symptoms of autism?How is autism diagnosed?What are the treatments for autism?Are there screening tests for autism?How can I reduce my child's risk of autism?What questions should I ask my doctor?What is it like to live with autism?Where can I get more information about autism?

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
  • Review Date: 12/2018 -
  • Update Date: 08/15/2019 -