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Diagnostic Criteria

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), created by the American Psychological Association (APA). Autism Spectrum Disorder is categorized as a Neurodevelopmental Disorder, which manifests itself in early development. According to the DSM-V, Autism Spectrum Disorder must be present in the early developmental period of life, although some behaviors may not become fully manifested until the social demands exceed their limited capacities (including the start of school). Autism Spectrum Disorder is defined by persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, currently or in history. These deficits are in the areas of social-emotional reciprocity (abnormal social approach and failure of normal back and forth conversation, reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect), nonverbal communication (abnormalities in eye contact and body language, or lack of facial expression), and developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships (difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts, difficulty sharing imaginative play, and absence of interest in peers). In addition, Autism Spectrum Disorder is manifested by at least two restrictive, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, including: repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech; insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, extreme distress at small changes, difficulties transitioning, rigid thinking patterns, need to take the same route, and eating the same food every day; highly restricted fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity; and hyper or hypo reactivity to sensory input in the environment including adverse response to sounds and textures, visual fascination with lights or movements, and indifference to pain and temperature. While these symptoms may occur, in order to the DSM-V, these symptoms must cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.



Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network

The AS ATN is the first bi-national network of hospitals, physicians, researchers, and families at 17 centers across the United States and Canada. We are working together to develop the most effective approach to medical care for children and adolescents affected by autism.

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Online Resources


Asperger/Autism Network

The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) helps people with Asperger’s and similar autism spectrum and neurodiverse profiles build meaningful, connected lives, including a support network, events, and resources. Also available in Espanol.

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Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P Network)

The Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health establishes and maintains an interdisciplinary, multicenter research network for scientific collaboration and infrastructure to increase the life expectancy and quality of life for autistic individuals, particularly for underserved and vulnerable populations. The purpose of the AIR-P is to support innovative life course intervention research that promotes optimal health and well-being of autistic individuals across the lifespan.

National Resources

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Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.

Knowledge is power, particularly in the days after an autism diagnosis. The Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit helps families of children ages four and under make the best possible use of the 100 days following the diagnosis.

This kit will help you learn more about autism and how to access the services that your child needs. It contains information and advice collected from trusted experts on autism and parents like you.

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National Autism Center at May Institute

The National Autism Center is May Institute’s Center for the Promotion of Evidence-based Practice. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to disseminating evidence-based information about the treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), promoting best practices, and offering comprehensive and reliable resources for families, practitioners, and communities.

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Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Institute works to support the health and well-being of people affected by autism through innovative, impactful research, and education.

Local Resources

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California Autism Center

The California Autism Center and Learning Group (CAC) was founded in 2014 with the intent to bring client-focused center-based ABA services to the Central Valley. Born and raised in the Fresno area, William Forath, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, sought to build a new kind of center and a new kind hope for families in his community with some of the best, brightest, and most talented clinicians in the Fresno area.

Services include:

  • early intensive intervention
  • school-age intervention
  • social skills groups
  • wrap-around services for the whole family
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EPU Children's Center

EPU provides services to families of children facing extraordinary medical, developmental, and parental challenges

Services include:

  • parent training and information center
  • family resources center
  • infant family program
  • one call for kids - assistance hotline to find specific services in Fresno County
  • Play and Grow - play groups
  • The Assessment Center for Children

Developmental checklist - based on months and includes behaviors children should be able to do and red flags parents should look for.