Autism Facts and Figures You Need to Know First.
Autism (also referred to as autism spectrum disorder) is a lifelong developmental condition that usually appears in early childhood. It affects communication, social interaction, behavior and self-regulation. “Spectrum” means that autism comes in different forms and levels of severity. Each person suffering from autism will have their own unique symptoms and challenges. [1, 2]
Here are some autism-related statistics:
- It is a fast-growing developmental disability;
- About 1% of the world population has autism;
- Over 3.5 million Americans live with autism; 
- About 1 in 44 children in the USA have it, according to 2018 data (1 in 27 for boys and 1 in 116 for girls); 
It is very clear that the disorder is rather common. However, exact causes of autism are still unknown. In the vast majority of cases it is passed on genetically, but such factors as parental age (the older the parents, the higher the risk) or prescription medications taken by the mother during pregnancy can also play a role. 
The autism spectrum is very wide. Signs and symptoms that we will discuss below can be noticeable in some people, whereas in others they may be mild and only manifest later in life.