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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 242537, 11 pages
Review Article

Assessment and Treatment in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Focus on Genetics and Psychiatry

1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Kansas University Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., MS4015, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA
2Department of Pediatrics, Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA
3Saint Luke’s Cancer Institute, Saint Luke’s Health System, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA

Received 14 January 2012; Accepted 26 March 2012

Academic Editor: Jeanne Townsend

Copyright © 2012 Merlin G. Butler et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are neurobehavioral disorders characterized by abnormalities in three behavioral domains including social interaction, impaired communication, and repetitive stereotypic behaviors. ASD affects approximately 1% of children and is on the rise with significant genetic mechanisms underlying these disorders. We review the current understanding of the role of genetic and metabolic factors contributing to ASD with the use of new genetic technology. Fifty percent is diagnosed with chromosomal abnormalities, small DNA deletions/duplications, single-gene conditions, or metabolic disturbances. Genetic evaluation is discussed along with psychiatric treatment and approaches for selection of medication to treat associated challenging behaviors or comorbidities seen in ASD. We emphasize the importance of prioritizing treatment based on target symptom clusters and in what order for individuals with ASD, as the treatment may vary from patient to patient.