What is Autism Spectrum Disorder

The autism spectrum disorder, also known as ASD, is a distinct group of neurological conditions that are characterized by varying degrees of impairment in the communication and language skills. An autism spectrum disorder will also show degrees of repetitive or restrictive pattern of thought and behavior.

Disorders that fall into this category include Asperger’s Syndrome, classic autism, Rett syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder as well as what is commonly referred to PDD-NOS which stands for pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified.


What are the forms of autism spectrum disorder?

While there are five recognized forms in the autism spectrum disorder, each has different symptoms.

Classic autism is the most widely recognized on the spectrum. Characteristics include impaired communication and social interaction as well as repetitive and restrictive behavior. The signs usually appear around age three.

Asperger’s Syndrome, unlike classic autism, does not show a loss or delay of language skills. Those who have AS have problems with social interaction as well as narrow focus on interests. Asperger’s differs from other disorders on the spectrum by the cognitive abilities being preserved. Asperger’s condition is more often than not thought to be the mildest of the autism spectrum disorders.

Rett syndrome affects more females than males. It is a neurodevelopment disorder of the gray matter of the brain. While classified as an autism spectrum disorder due to having characteristics of autism, it also shares characteristics with cerebral palsy. Rett syndrome, however, shows normal development for the first 6-18 months and then regression is seen.

Those with pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified or PDD-NOS is referred to as atypical autism because those who have it show signs, but not enough to be categorized with either classic autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Those with childhood disintegrative disorder show normal development compared to others their own age, but regression happens generally between the ages of 2 and 10.

Is there a standard treatment for all forms of autism spectrum disorder?


The goal with any therapy is to help those with an autism spectrum disorder go on to lead as a productive life as possible. Because no single treatment works for all individuals on the spectrum, each treatment needs to be based on the needs of each child.

Generally, treatment will focus on increasing the communication skills and behavior skills as well as working to increase their physical strength to deal with the clumsiness that is sometimes present. Other treatments may include sensory integration therapy and a special diet.

Since some children with autism have visual perception problems, parents, with the help of some standardized methods, can help their child see the world more clearly.  By trying to stay positive despite the situation, you will be able to help your child deal with his condition and live a happy life.

Parents will play a very big role in the development of a child with any of the autism spectrum disorders.