The exact cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is unknown. Research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be involved.
A diagnosis of ASD is based on observation of the individual’s behavior. Symptoms must be present in early childhood, usually before age three. The diagnosis is made by a trained mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, based on criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
It is important to rule out other conditions that may be causing similar symptoms, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), language disorders, or learning disabilities.
Treatment for ASD typically includes behavior therapy, speech therapy, and social skills training. Medication may be used to treat associated symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the prognosis for individuals with mild or no impairment of functional language is generally good. With appropriate interventions, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and lead happy, productive lives.