Autism Spectrum Disorder: Characteristics, Associated Behaviors, and Early Intervention

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2020 Jun;67(3):525-535. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2020.02.007. Epub 2020 May 4.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by deficits in social communication and interaction and the presence of restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. Currently, ASD affects 1 in 59 individuals and can be a costly disorder across one's lifetime. Because of the prevalence, costs, and range of behavioral needs, early intervention is vital to teach skills across a variety of domains and prevent the development or exacerbation of behavioral deficits and excesses. Interventions based on applied behavior analysis have the most empirical support; several strategies to teach social skills, communication, and adaptive skills are discussed.

Keywords: ASD; Adaptive behavior; Autism spectrum disorder; Early behavioral intervention; Early intervention; Language; Social skills.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / complications*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Humans
  • Problem Behavior*