Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders in the DSM-5. Individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder present with two types of symptoms: problems in social communication and social interaction and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. The DSM-5 redefined the autism spectrum disorders to encompass the previous (DSM-IV-TR) diagnoses of autism, Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and childhood disintegrative disorder.

Under the DSM-5, autism is characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and interaction across multiple contexts, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. These deficits are present in early childhood, and lead to clinically significant functional impairment.[13] There is also a unique form of autism called autistic savantism, where a child can display outstanding skills in music, art, and numbers with no practice.[14]Because of its relevance to different populations, self-injurious behaviors (SIB) are not considered a core characteristic of the ASD population however approximately 50% of those with ASD take part in some type of SIB (head-banging, self-biting) and are more at risk than other groups with developmental disabilities. Some of the language behaviors typically seen in children with autism may include repetitive or rigid language, specific interests in conversation, atypical language development, or poor nonverbal communication skills, including lack of eye contact and meaningful gestures and facial expressions .

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