Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

A boy on a slide with service dog

Photo courtesy of Logan and his family.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by difficulties in social communication, repetitive behaviors and restrictive interests, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5). ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination, sensory integration, attention, and physical health issues, such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances.  Some individuals with ASD excel in visuals skills, music, math and art.

The strong genetic component in autism is becoming better understood and is the reason for the inclusion of autism in this listing of genetic conditions. ASD can also occur as part of another syndrome, some of which are listed below. 

Individuals with ASD may also have medical issues such seizures, or gastrointestinal issues which may be part of an underlying syndrome, or occurring coincidentally with the autism. Physical differences may also be present, such as differences in facial features, a small or a larger than average head size and/or brain structure malformation.

Learn more about diagnostic criteria, the genetics of ASD, prevalence, and common questions.


This information was last updated in February, 2016.