Autism Spectrum Disorder

Description: Michigan Autism Program logoAutism spectrum disorder is a life-long neurological disability that is characterized by significant social-communication and behavioral deficits. The severity of this disorder can vary greatly from one individual to another. The term "spectrum" refers to this range of social-communication and behavioral deficits.

Each individual with ASD has a unique set of characteristics but most will have difficulty socializing with others, communicating verbally or non-verbally, and behaving appropriately in a variety of settings. Left untreated, an individual with ASD may not develop effective and/or appropriate social skills. If a child or adult is not making friends, sustaining a conversation, able to play in an imaginative way, inflexible with routines and/or overly preoccupied with certain objects, it is important to learn the cause of these behaviors and obtain supports and services to help.

For more information on ASD, please reference the DSM-5 ASD factsheet.


Facts about Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Autism is a condition under autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Autism is often used as a shortened term for ASD.
  • In the 2017-2018 school year, 20,595 students met eligibility as a student with ASD and were enrolled in Michigan schools (Michigan Department of Education).
  • 1 in 59 children in the United State has ASD.*
  • ASD is about 4 times more common among boys than among girls.*
  • ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.*
  • ASD is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. (Autism Speaks)
  • 65% of parents reported their child with ASD had been bullied (National Autism Association)


*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention