What is Autism?

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that is characterized by deficits in the ability to learn, to communicate, and to form social relationships. Current estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the prevalence of autism at 1 in 44 children born today, making autism more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. Autism occurs across all racial, ethnic, and social groups and its effects typically last a lifetime.

Autism is described as a spectrum disorder because its symptoms vary from individual to individual both in terms of severity and variety of behavioral traits.