FELIX J ROGERS, DO
Autism is such a common and vexing condition that it is natural to seek straightforward answers and definite treatments for it. Unfortunately, there has been little progress up to this point. That may change now as a result of a new view of the problem, one that capitalizes on the very thing that previously held us back: the complex, heterogeneous presentation itself.
Neurodevelopmental disorders include a wide range of conditions such as epilepsy, intellectual disability, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Patients with ASD exhibit symptoms that begin early in childhood and persist throughout life and produce impairments in social, communicative, cognitive, and behavioral functioning. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, ASD affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys. A key characteristic in ASD is its heterogeneity. Patients with ASD present with wide variation and levels of impairment with different comorbidities, and the expression of these symptoms can change over time. The diagnosis of ASD calls for a constellation of behavioral symptoms, and requires persistent deficits in social communication and interaction.