Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a prevalent, lifelong, neurodevelopmental disorder whose core features of social communication deficits and restricted interests and repetitive behaviors, arise during toddlerhood. ASD is highly heritable and prospective research on infants at elevated familial risk has shown disruptions across multiple developmental domains before the presentation of core symptoms. Similarly, alterations in brain structure and function are observed before diagnosis, suggesting that familial recurrence of ASD may arise from joint effects of multiple liabilities in early postnatal and/or prenatal development. Ongoing work to characterize this process will continue to enhance early identification and personalized intervention planning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780128165119
ISBN (Print)9780128165126
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Development
  • Early childhood
  • Genetics
  • Language
  • Motor
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Restricted repetitive behavior
  • Social communication
  • Temperament


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