At this point we do not know what causes autism

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.”

We need to train pediatricians and health care providers on how to screen toddler and children for autistic behaviors by using various questionnaires or other screening tools.  It is usually premature to make a formal diagnosis of ASD in a child less than 5 years old as many of these individuals may improve with early intervention.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm

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