Facts About Autism

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), is a general term for a group of five complex, brain-based disorders that affect a person’s behavior as well as social and communication skills. The Centers for Disease Control describes ASDs as:  “developmental disabilities that cause substantial impairments in social interaction and communication and the presence of unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with ASDs also have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, and reacting to different sensations. The thinking and learning abilities of people with ASDs can vary—from gifted to severely challenged. An ASD begins before the age of 3 and lasts throughout a person’s life.”


How common is Autism?

Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.

What are the early warning signs of Autism?

Though autism cannot be definitively diagnosed until around 18 to 24 months, research shows that children as young as 8 to 12 months may exhibit early signs. Parents should look for the following symptoms:

  • No big smiles by 6 months
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No two word phrases by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech at any age



Autism SpeaksAutism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. The Autism Speaks website contains a vast amount of resources available in the resource library and toolkits

Autism Speaks 100 Day ToolkitA resource guide for parents of children recently diagnosed with autism.

Behavior Analyst Certification Board:Visit this website for more information on Applied Behavior Analysis therapy.

Family Connections of SC:Family Connections of SC is a statewide nonprofit organization that links families of children with special healthcare needs and disabilities with resources, support and education. We provide support to parents with a child or family member with any special healthcare need.

SC Autism Society:The South Carolina Autism Society provides service coordination and case management for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

SC Department of Health & Human Services: Visit this website for information on Medicaid services available to children with autism.