What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.

A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.*


ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, but is almost five times more common among boys than among girls. The Center for Disease Control estimates that about 1 in 40 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

More people than ever before are being diagnosed with ASD. It is unclear exactly how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of ASD and better efforts in diagnosis, however a true increase in the number of people with an ASD cannot be ruled out. We believe the increase in ASD diagnosis is likely due to a combination of these factors. *

To see a more in-depth breakdown of autism prevalence, and what it means to society as a whole, please click here.

Many treatment options exist for individuals with autism sprectrum disorder. Though ASD can be hard to identify at an early age, when possible, early intervention therapies are widely agreed upon to be the most effective treatments.

Because so many different treatments and therapies exist, families are often times inundated by massive amounts of information. Understanding treatment options, and making informed decisions for your child, is critical.

To better understand the therapy used by St. Gerard House and why it is considered one of the most effective, please click here.


*This information on this page has been provided by the Center for Disease Control, also known as the CDC.