Autism is a complex neurological disorder that affects each individual differently. Symptoms can be mild to severe and therefore is referred to as a spectrum disorder. The disorder primarily impacts development of social interaction and communication skills in both children and adults.
There is no known cause of autism. Some believe several genes, as well as environmental factors such as viruses or chemicals, contribute to the disorder. Autism affects males about four times as often as females, and has been found throughout the world in people of all racial and social backgrounds.
Autism spectrum disorders include Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Rett’s disorder and Asperger’s Disorder. These developmental disabilities typically appear during the first three years and continue throughout life.