Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Larson, Susan


Autism is a neurobiological spectrum disorder manifesting with challenges in socialization, communication, and repetitive behaviors. The Center of Disease Control estimates that 1:54 children have autism. Autism includes extremely gifted individuals and those who are severely challenged. Males are diagnosed four times the rate of girls. It is generally agreed that no one factor causes autism, there is a genetic component, and that autistic brains differ from neurotypical brains as determined by imaging studies. This literature review investigated research behind environmental factors that may contribute to autism such as exposure to chemicals, pesticides, pollution, and toxins found in products. Autism severity ranges from those who are extremely gifted to those who are non-verbal, and severely cognitively and behaviorally challenged in their daily lives. The cause of disorder is inconclusive and warrants further investigation regarding how environmental factors impact autism spectrum disorder

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis