Autism Speaks is the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, with offices throughout North America and Europe and a Mideast affiliate in Qatar. As part of its mission, Autism Speaks funds biomedical research into the causes, diagnosis, and more effective treatments for autism; advocates for the needs of individuals with autism and their families; and promotes better awareness for autism around the world.
“Autism” is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders — autism spectrum disorders (ASD) — caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. ASD can be mild or severe, and is characterized by social and communication challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated one in 110 children in the United States is on the autism spectrum — a 600 percent increase in prevalence during the past two decades that improved diagnosis can only partly explain.