According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, autism is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as autism spectrum disorders. Autism is characterized by three distinct behaviors: difficulty with social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication and displaying repetitive behaviors or having narrow obsessive interests. Scientists aren't sure what causes autism, but many suspect both genetics and environment are factors. For additional information and overview, go to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Web site: www.hhs.gov/autism/#ovr
Current studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that 1 in 166 children in the United States have an autism-spectrum disorder. For more statistics, go to the Web site: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/asd_common.htm.
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