Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Autism is a developmental disability that can cause a complex range of behavioural symptoms and may be mild, moderate or severe.

Autism is a developmental disability that can cause a complex range of behavioural symptoms and may be mild, moderate or severe.
beginning of content

Causes of autism

When a child is diagnosed with autism, parents and loved ones look for answers, including trying to understand the causes. Discovering a child has autism can be difficult.

It’s uncertain what causes autism, but there is strong evidence for a genetic link. Research is also looking at the role of the environment in triggering autism, such as viral infections, complications during pregnancy and air pollutants.

Autism has been mistakenly associated with childhood vaccinations. This may be because the onset of autism often coincides with the timing of a child’s immunisation. However, numerous clinical studies have tested this theory, and no evidence has been found to support a link between vaccinations and autism.

Likewise, autism is not caused by a person’s cultural or social surroundings.

Last reviewed: November 2016

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 42 results

Causes of autism spectrum disorder | Raising Children Network

What are the causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? They might include brain development and genetics but ASD isnt caused by anything parents do.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) -

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that causes problems with social understanding, social behaviour and communication.

Read more on myDr website

Autism spectrum disorder & family stress | Raising Children Network

Raising a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can cause family stress. If this sounds like your family, read this article for stress management ideas.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Autism - dispelling the myths

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, affects around one in 100 Australians. Read about misconceptions about autism, such as symptoms and causes of the disorder.

Read more on mindhealthconnect website

Autism signs & diagnosis in children | Raising Children Network

Read all the essentials on autism spectrum disorder (ASD), covering causes, characteristics, abilities, different types of the disorder and diagnosis.

Read more on Raising Children Network website


What is autism?

Read more on WA Health website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Autism

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects at least 1 in 1000 people. It affects more boys than girls (approximately 4 boys for every 1 girl). People with autism have problems with communication, social interaction, imagination and repetitive activities. Parents do not cause autism.Autism occurs in people from all cultures and countries.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Caring for a child with autism

Caring for a child with autism - find out what to do if your child is diagnosed with autism and where to get further information and financial assistance.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Kids' Health - Topics - Autism

Children with autism (say aw-tiz-m) get all of that information, but they are not able to make sense of it all.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Anxiety & school: kids & teens with autism | Raising Children Network

Children and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have more anxiety than other children. Anxiety can affect your childs enjoyment and learning at school. It might even stop him from wanting or being able to go to school. Heres how to work with the school to help your child.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo