What Is Autism? What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction
difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviours.
However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas.
Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on
the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. For others, symptoms may be
more severe, as when repetitive behaviours and lack of spoken language
interfere with everyday life.
the basic symptoms of autism
are often accompanied other medical conditions and challenges. These, too, can
vary widely in severity.
While autism is usually a life-long condition, all children and adults
benefit from interventions, or therapies, that can reduce symptoms and
increase skills and abilities. Although it is best to begin intervention as
soon as possible, the benefits of therapy can continue throughout life.
With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders
were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were
recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood
disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise
specified (PDD-NOS) and Aspergers syndrome.