Munson Health

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by Wood D

(Autism Spectrum Disorders; Pervasive Developmental Disorders)


Risk Factors

Factors that increase the risk of developing autism include:
The Conditions Above Primarily Affect the Central Nervous System
Central Nervous System
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There is no cure for autism. The severity of symptoms may decrease over the years. Children with autism and their families may benefit from early intervention. Children aged 18-30 months who had high-intensity intervention showed improvements in their IQ, language, and behavior.
Children with autism respond well to a structured, expected schedule. Many children with autism learn to cope with their disabilities. Most need assistance and support throughout their lives. Others are able to work and live independently when they grow up.
Children with autism can benefit from:

Special Education

Programs that meet the child's special needs improve the odds of learning. Children with autism may have trouble with assignments, concentration, and anxiety. Teachers who understand the condition can work with the child's abilities. Programs should use the child's interests. Some children do better in a small-group setting. Others do well in regular classrooms with special support. Vocational training can help prepare young adults for a job.

Therapy Services

Speech, physical, and occupational therapies may improve speech and activities. Children with autism need help developing social skills. Mental health professionals can help a family cope with caring for a child with autism. Counselors help parents learn how to manage behaviors.

Applied Behavioral Analysis

ABA is a type of behavior program. It can be used in school, in a therapy setting, and at home. There are a number of different kinds of ABA programs. Talk to your child's doctor about which one might be helpful for your child.


There are no drugs to treat autism. Some drugs are used to help manage symptoms. Medicines for anxiety and depression can also help treat obsessive and aggressive behaviors. Your child's doctor may use other medicines to help control other disruptive behaviors.

Other Therapies

There are other treatments available. These include dietary changes and alternative therapies. Talk with your child's doctor first to see if any of these would be helpful for your child.


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Autism Society



Autism Canada Foundation

Autism Society Canada



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Autism spectrum disorders (pervasive developmental disorders). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: Updated May 14, 2013. Accessed May 14, 2013.

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