Autism Spectrum Disorder (“ASD” or “Autism”)

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Young girl playing with colorful plastic toys

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.

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Key Facts

  • According to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, 1 in 54 8-year-old children were identified with ASD in 2016.
  • CDC supports the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED), one of the largest U.S. studies to better understand risk factors of ASD.
  • CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program aims to improve early identification of ASD by promoting developmental monitoring.
  • There is no cure for ASD, but Early Intervention services can improve a child’s development.
  • Monitoring, screening, evaluating, and diagnosing children with ASD as early as possible is important to make sure children receive the services and supports they need to reach their full potential.
Page last reviewed: March 26, 2021