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Autism: Symptoms, Facts, Research News

Updated/Revised Date: 2023-03-11
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (
Additional References: Autism Information Publications

Synopsis: Autism is a brain development disorder often characterized by impaired social interaction communication, and restricted repetitive behavior, among other factors. The number of people diagnosed with autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice and government-subsidized financial incentives for named diagnoses. Proposed causes, such as childhood vaccines, are controversial, and the vaccine hypotheses lack convincing scientific evidence.




Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a lifelong, nonprogressive neurological disorder typically appearing before the age of three years. The word "autism" means a developmental disability is significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction. People with ASD may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most others. Often, nothing about how they look sets them apart from other people. The classic form of autism involves a triad of impairments; in social interaction, communication, language use, and limited imagination as reflected in restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped behavior patterns and activities.

Main Document

Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication and restricted and repetitive behavior, starting before a child is three. This set of signs distinguishes autism from milder autism spectrum disorders (ASD) such as pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Autism falls under the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, which includes disorders like Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and then autism is then divided up into many subtypes including Asperger's Syndrome.

For reasons as yet unidentified, autism has become an epidemic in America over the last couple of decades. While considerable controversy surrounds the issue of why this condition is escalating so rapidly, the number of children diagnosed with autism has risen from one in 2,000 to one in 59 today. Other proposed causes, such as childhood vaccines, are controversial, and the vaccine hypotheses lack convincing scientific evidence.

Autism and ADHD could present with each other or with various other conditions - but they do not "typically" present together. Some autism symptoms could appear, like inattention. You should not easily confuse someone with ADHD with someone with autism, as their functioning and behavior are different. Autistic individuals display many forms of repetitive or restricted behavior, which the Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R) categorizes as follows:

No single repetitive behavior appears to be specific to autism, but only autism appears to have an elevated pattern of occurrence and severity of these behaviors. Early behavioral or cognitive intervention can help children gain self-care and social and communication skills. There is currently no known cure for autism.

A blurred shot of a child playing the piano.
A blurred shot of a child playing the piano.

Children and Adults with ASD May:

Common Autistic Traits

Behaviorally, certain characteristics identify the autism spectrum. The number of autistic traits determines the severity of autism in the individual. These autistic traits may benefit disciplines like science, mathematics, and engineering.

Social Impairment

Language Impairment

Imaginative Impairment and Repetitive Adherence

Sensory Integration Dysfunction

Autism Statistics

The number of people diagnosed has been increasing dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice and government-subsidized financial incentives for named diagnoses; whether actual rates have increased is unresolved.

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Subtopics and Associated Subjects

Latest Autism Information Publications

Association established between autism and obesity, as well as autism and cardiometabolic disease, including diabetes and dyslipidemia.
Publish Date: 2023-03-14 - Updated: 2023-03-17

Research that may eventually enable far earlier autism diagnoses shows that typically developing infants perceive audio-video synchrony better than high-risk for autism infants.
Publish Date: 2023-03-14

Ancient virus genome drives autism revealed as discoveries regarding autism onset found in research models.
Publish Date: 2023-03-10

In Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common cause of autism, sensory signals from the outside world integrate differently, causing them to be underrepresented by cortical pyramidal neurons in the brain.
Publish Date: 2023-02-16

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Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2023, March 11). Autism: Symptoms, Facts, Research News. Disabled World. Retrieved March 25, 2023 from

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