Brain Biology Related to Autism

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In this section you will learn about:

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in the first years of life. Problems with early brain development may cause autism, but autism’s exact causes are unknown.

Autism symptoms range in severity. Children with autism frequently have an intellectual disability, but some have normal intelligence. Due to this variability, autism is considered a continuum of related disorders, known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). At the most severe end is Autistic disorder. At the least severe end is Asperger syndrome.

This section provides an overview of how the brain areas that control social interaction, communication, and movement may play a role in ASD. We also discuss the challenges that doctors and scientists face when trying to link ASD to brain changes.