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About Autism

  • Autism is not a rare disorder; it affects 1 in 88 people and is more common than Down syndrome or childhood cancer.

  • Autism is a neurologically based developmental disability, not an emotional disorder.

  • Unlike many other disorders, with the proper knowledge autism can be detected as early as 18 months of age, offering hope for intervention during the period when the brain is most pliant.

  • It has been discovered that some children with autism have a dramatic response to early intensive behavioral interventions, and most are helped substantially. For example, early intervention can result in a significant increase in IQ and language ability and a decrease in support services needed later in childhood. These results stand in stark contrast to the very poor outcomes of children who do not receive early intervention.

  • Because of this remarkable response to intervention, we now have the opportunity to make a tremendous impact on numerous individuals and society. The total lifetime cost savings per individual who receives intensive early intervention can be $2 million. The impact on the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families is immeasurable.

  • Unfortunately, services available lag sadly behind the scientific knowledge. Most health professionals do not recognize autism until ages 3-4 when the optimal time for early intervention has passed. Even when autism is recognized early, accessing intervention services can be very challenging. There can be tremendous financial and personal hardships in their attempt to find services. As a result, most children with autism do not receive appropriate services. The UW Autism Center is addressing this need.

  • The University of Washington has an internationally recognized clinical autism research program at the Center on Human Development and Disability. This team of scientists and clinicians is currently conducting research on early diagnosis and development and the neurobiological and genetic bases of autism. They have the needed expertise to provide professional clinical training and intervention services and continue to move this exciting field forward through research.


More Information About Autism

Autism Resource DVD
My Next Steps: A Parent's Guide to Understanding Autism DVD was produced by UW Autism Center to help parents navigate the first steps after an autism diagnosis.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Variety of information and resources for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the NIH, provides access to medical journal articles, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, information about drugs, interactive patient tutorials, and the latest health news.