Facts for Parents About Autism and Vaccine Safety
From the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
The AAP understands that vaccine safety is an ongoing concern for parents of young children,
and supports ongoing research in this area. In addition, the AAP supports further research
into the causes of autism. The following information is to help parents and caregivers to
understand some of the common issues and questions surrounding this topic.
WHAT IS AUTISM?
Autism is not a specific disease, but rather a collection of disorders of brain
development called “autism spectrum disorders,” or ASDs.
Autism has a strong genetic basis.
Studies show that the incidence of autism has risen. The apparent increase in autism
may be due to a combination of factors. For example, more and more behaviors and
disorders are being included in the definition of in the definition of ASD than in the
past. Also, the public and the medical profession recognize these disorders more often.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 150
children have an ASD.
Although many theories have been discussed, the cause or causes of autism are not
More research is being done every year to try to identify the causes and improve
efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat ASDs. The nation’s top experts in pediatric
neurology, genetics, and other fields are moving closer to answers about this group of
Early diagnosis is crucial. Pediatricians should screen all children for ASDs at 18 and
24 months. They should also listen carefully to parents about their child’s
development. Parents are the most reliable sources of information.
When a child is diagnosed with ASD, the child’s family and caregivers should be
given information and support. The child should be involved in autism intervention
programs as early as possible to get the most benefit.
WHAT IS MITOCHONDRIAL DISEASE?
A recent case that went through the feder