Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by:

Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts;

Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities;

Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (typically recognized in the first two years of life); and,

Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.

Most people who develop ASD have no reported family history of autism, suggesting that random, rare, and possibly many gene mutations are likely to affect a person's risk. Any change to normal genetic information is called a mutation. Mutations can be inherited, but some arise for no reason. Mutations can be helpful, harmful, or have no effect. More information about clinical trials on ASD funded by the National Institute of Mental Health is available on the website.

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Submitted on: 29-Dec-2005