Autism is a lifelong brain difference that impacts the way a person thinks, communicates, interacts with others, and interprets the world around them. The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that as many as 1 in every 36 children in the United States are identified as being autistic. Autism is seen in all racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Characteristics associated with autism are typically present before the age of three and last throughout the lifespan. While there is a great deal of variability across the autism spectrum, there are primary characteristics that are common among individuals with autism, specifically related to social, emotional and language development. Due to differences in the brain, autistic people often have different ways of processing, interpreting and reacting to information, stimuli, and/or people. 

For additional facts & statistics about autism, click here, or visit the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence (VCU-ACE).

For more detailed information on autism during different developmental stages, click the categories below: