Even though research has recently allowed many advances to better understand the mechanisms associated with ASD, a lot of interrogations remain as to why these disorders develop in some individuals and not in others. Just as autism covers a wide range of disorders, there is also a spectrum of causes responsible, such as advanced age of the father at the time of conception, or exposure to certain agents when the fetal brain is developping. In addition, genetics plays a major role in this condition: for example, being a boy (autism is four times as frequent in men as in women) and having ASD running in the family are recognized risk factors. But even though it has been proven that genes play a role in this disorder, they do not account for all the risk, says Wendy Chung, geneticist at the Simons Foundation.
Given the complexity of the situation, no medicated treatment or cure currently exist to treat autism. However, certain drugs can help treating pathologies associated to developmental disabilities such as epilepsy. Besides, early diagnosis allows early and adapted measures for children living with ASD, to help them interacting with other and gaining autonomy.