Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by significant impairments in social interaction and communication and by repetitive, restrictive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.1 The most serious of the conditions comprising ASDs is autistic disorder, because it is likely to co-occur with intellectual disability and a range of medical, behavioral, and psychiatric complications.1 The prevalence of ASDs is estimated to be approximately 1% of children.2 Because of increasing temporal trends in autism prevalence and the clinical and behavioral challenges of the condition, understanding risk factors, determining potential causes and prevention, and evaluating treatment options are high priorities for researchers, parents, advocates, clinicians, and educators.
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