What is Autism? According to Autism Speaks, a national non-profit organization, autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges as well as unique strengths and differences with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. We now know that there is not just one type of autism but many caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.

Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Autism Speaks urges parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.

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