Autism: What We Know

Autism is a general word used to describe a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders, or ASD’s. ASD’s are neurological and biological disorders that effect brain development. Although the exact causes of autism remain unknown, researchers believe that it is caused by a combination of both genetic and environmental factors.

Important Statistics:

  • Autism affects approximately 1 in every 68 children
  • Autism is about five times more likely to occur in boys than in girls
  • About a quarter of those with autism are non-verbal
  • Between 20 to 30 percent of people with autism develop epilepsy

What are some indicators and symptoms of autism?

Several indicators, including struggles in social situations, communication difficulties, and repetitive behaviors, mark autism. Some repetitive behaviors might include lining up objects, pacing, rocking, hand flapping, and spinning. ASD ranges in severity from minor difficulties in communication and social interactions to severe disabilities, which might include handicaps in speech.

How is autism treated?

Autism may be treated in a variety of ways including medication and educational therapies aimed at developing speech and social skills. Although certain medications may be used to treat symptoms of autism, including depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, there is no cure. Certain therapies and interventions may lead to improvements in symptoms, but it is important to be respectful of each individual’s unique needs and challenges.


Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works