Answers FAQ

Autism Spectrum Disorder FAQs

Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Take the Autism Spectrum Disorder Quiz First! Before reading this FAQ, challenge yourself and
Test your Knowledge!

Q:Autism is a neuropsychiatric disorder. True or False?

A:True. Autism is a spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, and unusual and repetitive behaviors. Some (but not all) people with autism are non-verbal. Autism generally appears before 3 years of age.

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Q:Who is more likely to develop autism? Boys or girls?

A:Boys. Boys are four times more likely to have autism than are girls. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism spectrum disorders were found to affect an average of one out of every 110 8-year-old children.

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Q:Autism symptoms include impaired development in social interaction, communication, and behavior. True or False?

A:True. Autism is characterized by impaired development in social interaction, communication, and behavior.

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Q:Which condition is considered to be on the spectrum of autism disorders?

A:Asperger syndrome. Asperger disorder is characterized as one of the autism spectrum disorders. Also known as Asperger syndrome or Asperger's syndrome, it is one of a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that have effects on an individual's behavior, use of language and communication, and pattern of social interactions.

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Q:There are no treatments for autism. True or False?

A:False. Early diagnosis and treatment help young children with autism develop to their full potential. The primary goal of treatment is to improve the overall ability of the child to function, and can include: behavioral training and management, specialized therapies such as speech, occupational, and physical therapy; medicines (Note: With autism, medications are generally used to treat related conditions and behaviors or symptoms such as depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, and obsessive-compulsive disorders).

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Q:How can autism be prevented?

A:Experts have not yet identified a way to prevent autism. Public concern over stories linking autism and childhood vaccines has persisted; however, numerous studies have failed to show any evidence of a link between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. If you avoid having your children immunized, you put them and others in your community at risk for developing serious diseases, which can cause serious harm or even death.

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Q:Autism includes a broad spectrum of symptoms and disorders. True or False?

A:True. The term "autism" is generally used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). These disorders include Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. Many parents and professionals refer to this group as Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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Q:Mothers were originally blamed for their child's autism. True or False?

A:True. Autism was originally thought to be caused by lack of love from the mother to the child. This misunderstanding of autism caused many parents of autistic children to develop overwhelming guilt for their child's disability.

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