Autism spectrum disorder is a term used to describe a constellation of early-appearing social communication deficits and repetitive sensory-motor behaviours associated with a strong genetic component as well as other causes. The outlook for many individuals with autism spectrum disorder today is brighter than it was 50 years ago; more people with the condition are able to speak, read, and live in the community rather than in institutions, and some will be largely free from symptoms of the disorder by adulthood. Nevertheless, most individuals will not work full-time or live independently. Genetics and neuroscience have identified intriguing patterns of risk, but without much practical benefit yet. Considerable work is still needed to understand how and when behavioural and medical treatments can be effective, and for which children, including those with substantial comorbidities. It is also important to implement what we already know and develop services for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Clinicians can make a difference by providing timely and individualised help to families navigating referrals and access to community support systems, by providing accurate information despite often unfiltered media input, and by anticipating transitions such as family changes and school entry and leaving.