To Your Health: Autism

Apr 1, 2020

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social communication and the presence of restrictive interests, repetitive behaviors, and sensory symptoms, according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5. EasterSeals Midwest reports Autism affects 1 in 40 children in the United States.

April is Autism Awareness month.

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child Development states, the name ‘autism spectrum disorder’ reflects the huge variability in the degree and nature of the symptoms that people with ASD experience. ASD is an umbrella term for a number of separate conditions. While some people with ASD never live independently, have a job or form strong peer relationships, others can have highly successful professional and personal lives.

The National Institute of Mental Health states doctors diagnose ASD by looking at a person’s behavior and development. ASD can usually be reliably diagnosed by the age of two. The NIMH reminds us that while there is no cure for ASD, early treatment is important to reduce individuals’ difficulties and to help them learn new skills, as well as make the most of their strengths.

Easter Seals not only works with individuals who have autism and their families, but also with the community to raise awareness about developmental disabilities and help people understand how to create a more inclusive community. For more information on this and other health issues, visit


Jones, E. J. (2017). Autism. In B. Hopkins, & R. G. Barr (Eds.), The Cambridge encyclopedia of child development (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from