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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a lifelong condition that usually appears in late infancy or early childhood, and is characterized by social and communication deficits that impede optimal functioning. Despite widespread research and greater public awareness, ASD has an unclear etiology and no known cure, making it difficult to acquire accurate and timely diagnoses.
Being diagnosed with Autism can be an extremely daunting time but this is the first and most important step. Explaining that the diagnosis will be beneficial to all involved and will help the child and the family to feel safe, comfortable and informed. A growing body of evidence supports the value of early diagnosis and treatment with evidence-based interventions, which can significantly improve the quality of life of individuals with ASD as well as of their carers and families. Particularly noteworthy are early interventions that occur in natural surroundings and can be modified to address age-related goals throughout the lifespan.
There is one point upon which every autism advocate and expert agree: The earlier in life ASD can be identified and treated, the better.
Autism has, quite simply, become too large an issue for anyone to ignore. In recent years, the disorder has made headlines as the rate of diagnosis has increased by about tenfold. Exactly why there has been such a dramatic increase in autism cases has been hotly debated for years. Some believe that, in good part, doctors are gradually getting better at identifying the disorder. In addition, more people are now being classified as having autism due to the disorder's current broader definition.