Autism is a complex, developmental disability that is usually evident within the first three (3) years of life. It is a behaviorally-defined syndrome that is generally recognized by difficulties in communication, social interaction and perceptual organization, or patterns of behavior. Autism is referred to as a "spectrum disorder" meaning that individuals diagnosed may have a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders may display a wide range of skills and deficits.

  • usually evident in the first three (3) years of life

  • a lifelong, neuro-developmental disability for which there currently is no cure

  • identified 4 to 5 times more frequently in males than females

  • For 2020, 1 in 36 children, by 8 years old, (approximately 4% of boys and 1% of girls) was estimated to have ASD (CDC, 2023)

  • more common than Downs Syndrome, childhood cancer and Fragile X Syndrome

  • a behaviorally-defined syndrome diagnosed/verified by multidisciplinary team of professionals

  • a mental illness

  • caused by poor parenting or "refrigerator mothers"

  • always associated with mental impairment

  • always associated with behavioral challenges

  • diagnosed by a single medical test or brief observation