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NINDS Disorders is an index of neurological conditions provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This valuable tool offers detailed descriptions, facts on treatment and prognosis, and patient organization contact information for over 500 identified neurological disorders.

Neurology Now
Autism. 03.01.2009
AUTISM. 03.01.2009
Key to the Classroom. 07.01.2007
Train Your Brain. 07.01.2007
Autism. 05.01.2007
A Grandmother's Wish. 03.01.2007

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Autism

Autistic disorder (sometimes called autism or classical ASD) is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).Autistic children have difficulties with social interaction, display problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and exhibit repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests. These behaviors can range in impact from mild to disabling. Autism varies widely in its severity and symptoms and may go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected children or when more debilitating handicaps mask it. Scientists aren’t certain what causes autism, but it’s likely that both genetics and environment play a role.

Treatment

There is no cure for autism.  Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about substantial improvement.  The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of individual children.  Treatment options include educational/bahavioral interventions, medications, and other therapies.  Most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.

Prognosis

For many children, autism symptoms improve with treatment and with age. Some children with autism grow up to lead normal or near-normal lives. Children whose language skills regress early in life, usually before the age of 3, appear to be at risk of developing epilepsy or seizure-like brain activity. During adolescence, some children with autism may become depressed or experience behavioral problems. Parents of these children should be ready to adjust treatment for their child as needed.  People with an ASD usually continue to need services and support as they get older but many are able to work successfully and live independently or within a supportive environment.

Research

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts research in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also supports additional research through grants to major medical institutions across the country.  As part of the Children’s Health Act of 2000, the NINDS and three sister institutes have formed the NIH Autism Coordinating Committee to expand, intensify, and coordinate NIH’s autism research. As part of the Children’s Health Act of 2000, the NINDS and three sister institutes have formed the NIH Autism Coordinating Committee to expand, intensify, and coordinate NIH’s autism research. Eight dedicated research centers across the country have been established as “Centers of Excellence in Autism Research” to bring together researchers and the resources they need.   The Centers are conducting basic and clinical research, including investigations into causes, diagnosis, early detection, prevention, and treatment of autism.

View a list of studies currently seeking patients.

View more studies on this condition.

Read additional information from Medline Plus.

Organizations

Autism Network International (ANI)

Autistic-run self-help and advocacy organization that provides a forum for autistic people to share information, peer support, and tips for coping and problem-solving.

P.O. Box 35448
Syracuse, NY 13235-5448

Association for Science in Autism Treatment

National not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization formed by a group of parents and professionals concerned about the care and treatment of individuals with autism. ASAT is dedicated to disseminating accurate, scientifically valid information about autism and its treatment options.

P.O. Box 188
Crosswicks, NJ 08515-0188

Autism National Committee (AUTCOM)

Works to protect and advance the human rights and civil rights of all persons with autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and related differences of communication and behavior.

P.O. Box 429
Forest Knolls, CA 94933

Autism Research Institute (ARI)

Conducts research and disseminates research-based information on the cause, prevention, and treatment of autism and related disorders.

4182 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116
Tel: 866-366-3361
Fax: 619-563-6840

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Information Clearinghouse

1 Communication Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20892-3456
Tel: 800-241-1044 800-241-1055 (TTD/TTY)

Autism Society of America

Promotes lifelong access and opportunities for persons within the autism spectrum and their families through advocacy, public awareness, education, and research programs.

4340 East-West Highway
Suite 350
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel: 301-657-0881 800-3AUTISM (328-8476)
Fax: 301-657-0869

MAAP Services for Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and PDD

Provides information, advice, and networking to families of more advanced individuals affected by the autism spectrum, including autism, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder. Publishes a quarterly newsletter.

P.O. Box 524
Crown Point, IN 46308
Tel: 219-662-1311
Fax: 219-662-1315

Autism Speaks, Inc.

Nonprofit organization dedicated to finding the causes, prevention, effective treatment and, ultimately, a cure for autism spectrum disorders. Provides research grants and fellowships and sponsors scientific conferences.

1 East 33rd Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-252-8584 (888) 288-4762
Fax: 212-252-8676

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Special Education Programs
1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: 800-695-0285 202-884-8200
Fax: 202-884-8441

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 2A32 MSC 2425
Bethesda, MD 20892-2425
Tel: 301-496-5133
Fax: 301-496-7101

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6001 Executive Blvd. Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Tel: 301-443-4513/866-415-8051 301-443-8431 (TTY)
Fax: 301-443-4279

Autism Science Foundation

Provides funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.

419 Lafayette Street
2nd floor
New York, NY 10003
Tel: 646-723-3978
Fax: 212-228-3557

Birth Defect Research for Children, Inc.

Non-profit organization that offers parents and expectant parents information about specific birth defects, their causes and treatments, support group referrals, and parent matching services. Provides information about environmental exposures that may be associated with birth defects. Sponsors the National Birth Defect Registry, a research project that collects data on birth defects and prenatal/lpreconceptual exposures of mothers and fathers.

976 Lake Baldwin Lane
Suite 104
Orlando, FL 32814
Tel: 407-895-0802

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

National Institutes of Health, DHHS
111 T.W. Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Tel: 919-541-3345

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