"Funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disordeR. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. Each child or adult with autism is unique and, so, each autism intervention plan should be tailored to address specific needs. Intervention can involve behavioral treatments, medicines or both. Many persons with autism have additional medical conditions such as sleep disturbance, seizures and gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Addressing these conditions can improve attention, learning and related behaviors. (Learn more about Treatment of Autism’s Core Symptoms and Treatment of Associated Medical Conditions.)"