http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/asd.cfm Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication. Symptoms usually start before age three and can cause delays or problems in many different skills that develop from infancy to adulthood. Different people with autism can have very different symptoms. Health care providers think of autism as a “spectrum” disorder, a group of disorders with similar features. One person may have mild symptoms, while another may have serious symptoms. But they both have an autism spectrum disorder. This Web site uses “autism spectrum disorder” and “autism” to mean the same thing. The symptoms of autism can usually be observed by 18 months of age. There is no cure for autism, nor is there one single treatment for autism spectrum disorders. But there are ways to help minimize the symptoms of autism and to maximize learning. • Behavioral therapy and other therapeutic options
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