Persistent deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication
Persistent deficits in social interaction and relationships across multiple contexts
Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities.
Symptoms range from mild to severe. Each person might display a unique combination of characteristics, ranging from low- to high-functioning forms of ASD.
ASD usually appears during the first three years of a person’s life. Some might first notice a loss of skills or developmental delays when the child is 15 months to 18 months old.
One in 68 children has been identified with ASD, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects boys 4.5 times more often than girls.
Psychological influences, such as parenting, do not cause ASD. Studies show ASD involves environmental and/or genetic factors that result in biological and/or neurological differences in the brains of people with ASD. There are currently no medical tests that reveal the cause of ASD.
Possible signs of ASD
Delayed or unusual verbal or nonverbal communication skills
No babbling or pointing by 12 months or single words by 16 months
Unusual speech patterns or repetitive phrases
Loss of early speech, reciprocal conversation or social skills.
Social interaction and relationships
Limited demonstration of emotions or expressions by 6 months or later
No response to name
Difficulty making eye contact or reading social cues (e.g., facial expressions, emotions, body language, etc.)
Challenges or resistance to interacting with other people and making or maintaining relationships
Little interest in imaginative play or making friends.
Stereotyped or repetitive movements, such as twirling, lining up toys, rocking, toe-walking or flapping/clapping hands
Rigid insistence on specific routines or rituals
Highly rigid or fixated interests
Hyper- or hypo-reactive to sensory input in the environment (e.g., fixation on light or specific sounds and textures).
Further diagnostic criteria include the following:
Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period
Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational or other important area of current functioning
These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability or global developmental delay.
A related condition is a condition that is closely related to ASD and:
Is severe and chronic
Requires treatment or services similar to those required for a person with ASD
Results in a person’s substantial functional limitations in the three core developmental deficits of ASD: (a) social interaction, (b) non-verbal/social communication, (c) restrictive, repetitive behaviors
May include deficits in one or more of the following related developmental domains: (a) behavioral challenges, (b) cognitive functioning, (c) expressive communication, (d) receptive communication, (e) safety and level of support needed, (f) self-care, and (e) sensory processing
Is not attributable to mental illness.
The Early Intensive Developmental and Behavioral Intervention (EIDBI) Benefit is a Minnesota Health Care Program. Read more about the benefit:
Across Minnesota and the nation, communities are experiencing a shortage of qualified healthcare providers. The provider shortage particularly affects rural areas. To find out what Minnesota is doing to build provider capacity, visit the Building EIDBI provider capacity webpage.
Programs and services
In Minnesota, county, tribal and state programs provide services for people with ASD or related conditions. County public health or social services or tribal agencies can provide local information and referrals, including advocacy, child care, community resources, county services, education and medical specialists. People with ASD or related conditions often need supports and services to learn and develop certain skills. Depending on their symptoms and severity, they may benefit from different types of services delivered in different types of places. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) offers many programs, including those for health care, people with physical and developmental disabilities, and children's mental health services.
For more information about the autism-related resources and services available to families, providers and lead agencies, as well as relevant links and reports, visit the ASD resources and EIDBI Benefit pages.
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Data and reports
Children screened, diagnosed and treated for autism spectrum disorder: These data, published in compliance with Minn. Stat. 256B.69, Subd. 32a, show the number of children aged 1 to 6 who received a diagnostic assessment for autism spectrum disorder, the total number of children aged 1 to 6 with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder who received treatments and the types of treatments provided to children who were enrolled in a managed-care organization.