VH1 Classic Rock Autism Video Clips
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VH1 Classic Rock Autism On Facebook
Join our new online community on Facebook. Connect with other fans, share your stories, and help us rock the cause!

VH1 Classic Celebrity Bowl-Off
Rockers lace up their shoes for a great cause! Dave Navarro and lots more attended. Click here to see pics from the event.

VH1 Rock Honors: The Who Raises Funds for Autism
This year's 'VH1 Rock Honors: The Who' raised $300,000 for a variety of VH1 Classic Rock Autism charities. Check out the show here.

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Learn More About Autism

What is autism?
How common is autism?
What are common signs of autism?
How do I know if my child has autism?
How is autism treated?
What causes autism?
Is autism genetic?

What is autism?

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder of development that lasts throughout a person's lifetime. Because persons with autism exhibit different symptoms or behaviors, ranging from mild to serious, autism is a "spectrum" disorder, or a group of disorders with a range of similar features.

Children with autism have difficulty communicating and interacting with others. Many individuals with autism seem to retreat into isolation, or fixate on a word, an object, or an activity.

Sometimes symptoms are seen in infancy, while other children develop normally for a year or more before they begin to slip into their own private world. At best, a high functioning person with autism may simply seem eccentric, a loner. At worst, a person with more profound autism may never learn to speak or care for themselves.

How common is autism?

Autism is the fastest growing disability in the United States. A child is diagnosed with autism every 21 minutes and it now affects one in every 150 children.

More than a disorder, autism is a national crisis affecting at least one million Americans and costing the country more than $90 billion annually.

What are common signs of autism?

Children affected by autism do not always experience the same symptoms. The symptoms depend on the severity of the disorder. The impact or manifestation of these behaviors can range from mild to disabling. Early signs of autism are:

  • Loss or lack of speech around 18 months of age.
  • Little or no eye contact.
  • Loss or lack of gestures, such as pointing or waving.
  • Repetitive speech or actions.
  • Unusual reactions to the way things look, feel, smell, taste or sound.
How do I know if my child has autism?

A qualified professional, such as a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neurologist, makes an autism diagnosis.

A professional may use a screening questionnaire to gather observations from the child's parents. If the screening indicates the possibility of autism, a more comprehensive evaluation is often conducted by a medical team that includes a psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist and other specialists.

How is autism treated?

Early Intervention: Programs include educational programs and behavior training programs that emphasize developing language and social skills.

Special Education: Specialized education programs geared to maximize the potential of each individual, taking into consideration their social needs.

Family Support: Counseling for parents and siblings of children with autism is encouraged and often helpful to cope with the challenges of living with an autistic family member.

Medication: Pharmaceutical interventions are prescribed to help children develop social and language skills.

Alternative Therapies: There also are a number of alternative therapies available for children with autism. However, few have been supported by scientific studies. Parents should research the providers and the treatment before beginning a course of non-traditional therapy.

What causes autism?

At this time, scientists do not know exactly what causes autism. Because no two people with autism are alike, autism is likely to be the result of many causes.

A number of research studies indicate a genetic link as the underlying cause. Researchers are also examining possible neurological, infectious, metabolic, environmental and immunologic factors.

Is autism genetic?

There is strong evidence of a genetic component in autism. In identical twins, the chance of a twin developing autism if the other twin is autistic is as high as 60%. The chance of a sibling or a fraternal twin developing autism is 10-20% higher than in the general population.

For more detailed information on autism, we encourage you to visit some of the websites listed under "Resources and Information."

The content for this website was provided by Autism Speaks. For more information, visit

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