Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of neurodevelopmental disorders classified in the 2013 revision of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th edition (DSM-5). The ratio of boys and girls with autism is about 4:1.
The number of children with autism in the United States has increased more than 150 times in the past 40 years. In March 2014, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a statistical report that one in every 68 newborn babies in the United States is autistic; the chance of a boy is 1:42, while the girl is 1:189.
Recent scientific research in the United States points out that autism is not a single cause, but has multiple causes.
Any of the following risk factors in combination may cause autism:
- Rare genetic mutation
- Environmental factors
- Atypical brain development
- Infections and/or diseases during pregnancy
Studies have shown that simple environmental factors do not directly lead to autism. Only the combination of high-risk genetics and environmental factors can lead to the emergence of autism. Studies have also confirmed that autism has nothing to do with mental disorders or parenting styles.