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How is autism diagnosed? Is there a test for it?

There is no blood test to diagnose autism spectrum disorder. A diagnosis is made based on behaviors. In order to be diagnosed with autism, an individual must display deficits in social communication and social interaction, and show restrictive and repetitive behaviors.

How can I find out what caused my child's autism?

In most individuals it is currently not possible to identify the exact cause of autism. There are a few genetic syndromes associated with autism (for example, Rett syndrome and fragile X syndrome) in which the genetic cause is known. Scientists have also identified a number of rare genetic changes that are major contributors to autism. In about 25 percent of autism cases, a specific genetic cause can be identified. The remaining 75 percent of cases likely involve a complex combination of genetic factors and yet-to-be identified environmental influences. At this time, there is no evidence that specific chemicals in the environment, immunization practices or dietary differences cause autism.