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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Autism Spectrum Disorders

According to the Autism Society of America, autism is the most common of a group of diseases that falls under the umbrella of pervasive developmental disorders. All of these complex conditions typically appear during the first three years of life. They are the result of a neurological disorder that adversely affects normal brain development in the areas of communication skills and social interaction. In the past, some individuals linked autism to vaccines given during the first two years of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, states categorically that, “the weight of currently available scientific evidence does not support the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism.”

Internet Resources

MedlinePlus: Autism
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, this site is a portal for both government-sponsored and privately developed health information for the lay public. Look for familiar links to places like the National Institutes of Health.

Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

Autism Society of America
The Autism Society exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.


  • 1001 great ideas for teaching and raising children with autism or asperger’s. Notbohm E. 2010.
  • Activity schedules for children with autism: teaching independent behavior. McClannahan L. 2010
  • Cutting-edge therapies for autism, 2010-2011. Siri K. 2010
  • Autism and Asperger syndrome: the facts. Baron Cohon S. 2008
  • A to Z of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Turkington C. 2007
  • Talking Teenagers: Information and Inspiration for Parents of Teenagers with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Boushey A. 2007
  • Autism and its medical management: a guide for parents and professionals. Chez M. 2008
  • 100 Questions & Answers about Autism: Expert Advice from a Physician/Parent Caregiver. Quinn C. 2006
  • Does My Child Have Autism? A Parent’s Guide to Early Detection and Intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Stone WI. 2006

Journal Articles

  • “Recent studies on feeding problems in children with autism.” Volkert VM. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 43(1):155-9. Mar. 2010
  • “Childhood autism and auditory system abnormalities. Hitoglou M. Pediatric Neurology. 42(5):309-14. May 2010
  • “Autism spectrum disorders and the gut.” Harvard Mental Health Letter, 26(10):4. Apr. 2010
  • “Behavioral treatments in autism spectrum disorder: what do we know? Vismara LA. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 6:447-68. Apr. 2010
  • “What causes autism? Exploring the environmental contribution.” Landrigan PJ. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 22(2):219-25. Apr. 2010


Contact the Autism Society of America, at www.autism-society.org, for information on a chapter in your area, parent training seminars and much more. Their telephone number is 800-328-8476 (3AUTISM).

Contact Autism Speaks at http://www.autismspeaks.org/ for information on a chapter in your area, community and family resources,

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the  Health Learning Center  at 312-926-5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateMarch 5, 2012