Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder that can cause problems with thinking, feeling, language and the ability to relate to others. It is a neurological disorder, which means it affects the functioning of the brain. The effects of autism and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.
Autism is most often a lifelong disorder, though there are more and more cases of children with ASD who eventually function independently, leading full lives. The information here focuses primarily on children and adolescents.