Causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Learn about the causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

What causes ASD?

The exact cause of ASD is not known.  

While both genetics and environment likely play a role, its exact cause remains unknown.

There is a lot of research being done worldwide to understand how genes and exposure to things in the environment can increase the risk that a child will have ASD. However it’s important to keep in mind that increased risk is not the same as cause. For example, some gene changes associated with ASD can also be found in people who don’t have the disorder.

ASD is not:

  • contagious
  • caused by vaccination
  • caused by parenting style

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