Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects 1 in 68 US children. It affects males 5 times more than females; 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls. The overall rate in Maryland is 1 in 60 children.

What is Autism?
Autism is a complex neurological disorder. Both children and adults with autism show difficulty with social interactions and verbal and nonverbal communication. Many individuals with autism demonstrate strong passions and interests. In addition, individuals with autism may have heightened responses to information from their senses. They may have difficulty with certain sounds, the way things look, the textures of foods or clothing against their skin.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can be mild to severe (and each individual's collection of symptoms are unique)-for this reason autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder. Austism can present unique challenges to the individuals with ASD, as well as to their families, cargivers, educators, and peers. It is a hidden disability in the sense that the individuals affected are, in many cases, physically indistinguishable from their peers.

How is it diagnosed?
There are autism-specific behaviorial evaluations that psychologists and physicians conduct.

What are the causes?
There are no known causes of autism, but it is believed to be a brain abnormality.

What are some treatments?
There are many different types of treatments available. The different types of treatments include behavior and communication approaches, dietary approaches, medication, and complementary and alternative medicine.