April is National Autism Awareness Month—a time to help educate people on the signs and symptoms of autism.

The Centers for Disease Control defines autism as “a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.” Also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder, this disability can affect people in different severities. As a result, many may reach adulthood without knowing they have autism, while some are faced with considerable challenges.

According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 44 children in the United States are affected with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Though we still have much to learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder, current research points to a few environmental and genetic circumstances that may increase the likelihood of autism in children. Having siblings with ASD, genetic conditions, birth complications, and having older parents may put some children at greater risk of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder. Current research aims to explore more definitive answers to specific causes.

Early diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder can be vital to give children the help they need at a young age and the tools to improve their quality of life. For more resources and tools involving Autism Spectrum Disorder, please visit the websites below.