Autism is a condition related to brain development that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Symptoms usually appear before the age of three. The exact cause of autism is not entirely known, although genetics clearly plays an important role. Autism is one of a group of related developmental conditions sometimes called the autism spectrum that affect people differently and to varying degrees.
Autism. There is a saying which goes, if you have met one autistic person then you have met one autistic person. You might think of autism as a linear spectrum but in reality, each person has their own unique blend of challenges and capabilities, and these change over time. In the same way, the path to an autism diagnosis is different for almost every person. Someone might have one sequence in their genome that is strongly linked to autism, or a combination of weakly linked genetic changes, or a combination of genetics and environment. Research on autism is an important example of science where those with a condition are valued contributors to experimental design and interpretation.
Social and Behavioral Research Branch