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Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center

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Autism Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and More

What Is the Outlook for People With Autism?

The outlook for people with autism varies depending on the severity of symptoms, the age at which treatment is started, and the availability of supportive resources for the child. Symptoms in many children improve with intervention or with age. Some people with autism are able to lead normal or near-normal lives. Some severely affected children may not develop enough functional and communication skills to live independently as adults. The outlook is better for children with higher levels of intelligence who are able to communicate with language.

What Autism Research Is Being Done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, is studying brain abnormalities that may cause autism and is looking for genes that may increase the risk of autism. Researchers also are investigating possible biologic markers present at birth that can identify infants at risk for developing autism. Other studies are examining how different brain regions develop and function in relation to each other, and how alterations in these relationships may result in the signs and symptoms of autism. Researchers hope these studies will provide new clues about how autism develops and how brain abnormalities affect behavior.

Can Autism Be Prevented?

There is no known way to prevent or cure autism. However, early diagnosis and intervention is critical and may help to maximize a child's ability to speak, learn, and function. It is very important that all children see a pediatrician regularly so that any signs of autism can be detected early. 


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan G Weintraub, MD on May 12, 2013

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