Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center

Recent statistics suggest that 1 out of every 110 children, 1.5 million people, born every year in the United States will be diagnosed with some form of an autism spectrum disorder. Boys are three times as likely to be affected as girls. Autism is a complex developmental disorder that causes impaired social interaction and communication, as well as causing restricted and sometimes repetitive behavior.

Symptoms are suspected when a child around 18 months has delayed speech development, and has difficulty playing with other children. Genetic causes are suspected to be a large factor, as well as some environmental causes, but a definitive cause is not known.

Treatment consists of several different types of therapy geared towards each patient's needs, such as physical therapy, speech therapy, and behavioral analysis and modification. Some medications may be appropriate such as anti-anxiety medications (Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax), medications for hyperactivity ((ex. Concerta, Ritalin, Strattera), and risperidone (Risperdal) for irritability and aggression.

Review Date: 
March 13, 2012
Last Updated:
June 30, 2013