UNC Autism Research Infographic titled "Accelerating Autism Discoveries." As the number-one public university in the nation for peer-reviewed autism research, UNC strives to improve the lives of children and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Autism spectrum disorder ( also known as ASD) refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that autism manifests in different ways, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences. 3.5 million plus Americans live with autism spectrum disorder. 1 in 68 children in the US have ASD. 1 in 58 children in North Carolina have ASD. Boy are over 5 times more likely than girls to have ASD. 65,000 plus people in North Carolina live with ASD. Autism incurs an additional average lifetime cost of 1.4 million to 2.4 million dollars per per diagnosis, depending on the level of severity. However, research suggests that early diagnosis and effective interventions can reduce that cost by two-thirds. New section, “ASD Research at UNC.” UNC is second in the world in peer-reviewed research on autism. 32 university departments support ASD research projects at UNC. 90 plus UNC researchers are currently engaged in autism-related research across campus. The UNC Autism Research Center is a new model for developing personalized treatments and interventions that improve the lives of millions of children and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Its researchers span the University, working across all areas of autism research. The center includes: the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, the UNC Neuroscience Center, and the UNC TEACHH Autism Program. 5 UNC-CH schools conduct autism research: The School of Medicine, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, School of Education, and College of Arts and Sciences. In the past decade, UNC has been awarded over 215 million dollars in autism-related research.