Frequently Asked Questions


What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism is a neurodevelopment disability. Children with autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder or ASD, have social, communication and learning challenges. They also have restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, such as flipping objects, echolalia, meaningless repetition of another person's spoken words, and excessive smelling or touching of objects. Autism may be mild or severe. All individuals with diagnosis autism do not have the exact same problems.

(American Speech-Language-Hearing association)


What does it mean to be on the spectrum?

Each individual with autism is unique. Many of those on the autism spectrum have exceptional abilities in visual skills, music and academic skills. About 40 percent have average to above average intellectual abilities. Indeed, many persons on the spectrum take deserved pride in their distinctive abilities and “atypical” ways of viewing the world. Others with autism have significant disability and are unable to live independently. About one third of people with ASD are nonverbal, but can learn to communicate using other means such as sign language or visual guides.

(Autism Speaks)


How common is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) reported that approximately 1 in 68 children in the United States has been identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This is a 30% increase from the estimate of 1 in 88 children reported in 2012, and an even more significant increase from 1980’s estimate of 1 in 10,000 and 1990’s estimate of 1 in 2500 children. Autism is also four times more common in males than in females.

(Autism Science Foundation)


 What causes Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Experts are still uncertain about all the causes of autism. In all likelihood, there are multiple causes – rather than just one. It appears to be that a number of different circumstances — including environmental, biological, and genetic factors – set the stage for autism and make a child more likely to have the disorder.

(My Child Without Limits)


What is the difference between Asperger’s syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder?

In the past, Asperger’s syndrome and Autistic Disorder were separate disorders. They were listed as subcategories within the diagnosis of “Pervasive Developmental Disorders.” However, this separation has changed. The latest edition of the manual from the American Psychiatric Association, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), highlights subcategories of a larger disorder. The manual includes the range of characteristics and severity within one category. People whose symptoms were previously diagnosed as Asperger’s syndrome or Autistic Disorder are now included as part of the category called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

(National Institute of Mental Health)