Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder)

What Is It?

Autism is a developmental disorder of the brain. People with autism have problems communicating and interacting socially. They also may have unusual patterns of behavior, interests and activities.

Doctors use the term autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the past, there were different kinds of autism disorders, but in 2013 the criteria for autism were updated to include all of them under a single diagnosis. The criteria for a diagnosis of autism include:

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »