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Autism Spectrum Disorder

The term autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or autism, is often used interchangeably to describe a broad array of characteristics. ASD is viewed as a neurodevelopmental disability in which symptoms are seen in early childhood (although a diagnosis may not be made until later) and for most individuals are present throughout life. Although each child and adult with ASD is unique, some characteristics and challenges are common across many individuals with ASD. This entry discusses the prevalence, causes, and early signs of ASD. It also describes screening for, diagnosis of, and treatment of ASD.

Most characteristics fall within two primary domains of deficits: social communication and interaction (both verbal and nonverbal) and restrictive and repetitive behaviors. Prior to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ...

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