Autism rates have increased twentyfold in a generation, stirring parents' deepest fears and prompting a search for answers. But what if the upsurge is not what it appears to be?
Public spending on children with autism in California varies greatly by race and class. A major reason: Not all families have the means to battle for coveted assistance.
An autism treatment called applied behavior analysis, or ABA, has wide support and has grown into a profitable business. It has its limits, though, and there are gaps in the science.
Autism can be difficult to understand and diagnose. People affected by the disorder talk about their day-to-day lives.
As more children are diagnosed with autism, researchers are trying to find unrecognized cases of the disorder in adults. The search for the missing millions is just beginning.
Theories abound on the genetic and environmental links to autism, but scientists have all but given up on finding one thing to explain it. The disorder's causes are almost certainly numerous and complex.
In some ways, applied behavior analysis resembles ordinary parent-child interactions except every aspect has a purpose. ABA treatment for autism varies greatly from case to case, as does its success.