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- Autism facts
- What is autism?
- How does autism impact the family?
- What are the different types of autism?
- What are the symptoms and signs of autism in children and adults?
- Impairment of social interaction and communication
- What causes autism?
- Is autism genetic?
- Do vaccines play a role in autism?
- How is autism diagnosed in children and adults?
- How is autism treated in children and adults?
- What common sociobehavioral interventions are used to treat autism?
- What are the common medications used to treat the symptoms of autism?
- Can diet and supplements play a role in the treatment of autism?
- What is the prognosis for children and adults with autism?
- For more information about autism in children and adults
Quick GuideAutism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): What is Autism?
Is autism genetic?
Because many different disorders can result in autism, this question is complex. Certainly, disorders such as the fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis, which are both associated with autism, are inherited. There are many families with more than one child with autism where the autism is not clearly due to another cause. Recent studies have found that the gene for at least one kind of familial autism may be on chromosome 13. In some families, autism seems to be passed from generation to generation. In other families, autism is not found in prior generations, but affects multiple siblings (brothers or sisters). The results of this research make it likely that at least one "autism gene" will eventually be found.
However, the majority of individuals with autism do NOT have a strong family history, which supports the premise that environmental or a combination of environmental and genetic factors contribute to the development of autism. In this context, environmental is meant to indicate any nongenetic factor, including infections, toxins, nutrition, or others.
Do vaccines play a role in autism?
Although some remain convinced that certain vaccines, vaccine preservatives, or medications taken to treat side effects of vaccines may cause autism, conventional wisdom is supported by research that continues to consistently demonstrate that immunizations do not cause autism.