What is Autism?

Autism is a term used for a number of developmental disabilities called Autism Spectrum Disorders — or ASD. ASD emerges in the first three years of a child’s life, and can affect the child’s ability to communicate, understand language, and to develop social relationships. The symptoms of ASD vary, and can range from mild to severe, but all children on the spectrum show difficulties with:

  • Social Interaction
  • Verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Repetitive behaviour or limited interests

Official Diagnoses

Though some people refer to all ASDs simply as "autism," doctors usually diagnose patients with a specific classification from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR).

Here are the five subcategories of diagnoses

  • Autistic Disorder
  • Asperger's Disorder
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)
  • Rett's Disorder
  • Pervasive Development Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

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