What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Many people probably heard about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which is also commonly known as Autism. I notice that even though many people have heard about it, most of them do not have a clear idea of what it is. So, what is it exactly?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a serious condition that affects brain to develop normally like other people. People with autism have different brain frequency than others that disturb the development. The common symptoms are lacking of social interactions and communications. However, the term ‘spectrum’ is used because there is such a wide variation in symptoms and different levels of disabilities and challenges between individuals.

Actually the word ‘Autism’ has two different meanings. The reason I say this is that normally the term ‘autism’ is used in a more general way to refer ASD. However, it also refers to a type or ASD, classical autism.

Types of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Yes, there are different types of ASD. Since the symptoms are too varied, ASD belongs to a category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). One of the types is classical autism as I mentioned earlier and there are Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). There are more types but those one are the most commons PDDs.

The individuals with Classical Autism have more difficulties of learning repetitive behaviors and languages. Some of them have mental retardation as well.

Asperger’s Syndrome occurs three times more to boys than girls. They tend to obsessively get interested in a single object or topic and often refuse to learn other topics. They lack social skills like other types of ASD. They usually have normal to above average intelligence, which some doctors refer them as ‘high-functioning autism’.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is the most common type of ASD. The individuals with PDD-NOS vary with symptoms so it is very hard to generalize. The individuals with PDD-NOS usually have better language skills than with the individuals with autistic disorder, shows less repetition behavior than the individuals with other types of ASD and it starts to show later than other ASD.


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