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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurobiological, lifelong developmental disorder, which means it is a disorder of the nervous system caused by genetic, metabolic, or other biological factors. Autism typically becomes apparent during a child's first three years; often within the first 12 to 18 months.

What are the symptoms of autism?

Autism affects brain functioning, which interferes with the normal development of reasoning, behavior, social interaction and communication. Studies have shown that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly better outcomes. Some signs to look for include:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Lack of communication by other means (use of gestures, pointing)
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in other children
  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

I suspect my child has autism. How do I arrange for an evaluation or assessment?

Schedule a diagnostic assessment at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism. For help finding diagnostic experts in your local area, check with your:

  • Pediatrician
  • Local children's hospital
  • County or state early intervention or developmental disabilities programs