What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of neurodevelopment disorders cthat affect how people communicate, learn, behave, and socially interact. People may have repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior or narrow interests. Not everyone who has ASD may have these symptoms, which are usually present from early childhood and affect daily functioning. Both children and adults can have ASD.
The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require substantial support to perform basic activities. Learning and thinking can range from extremely gifted to needing severe help.The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5, published in 2013) includes Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorders not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) as part of ASD rather than as separate disorders. A diagnosis of ASD includes an assessment of intellectual disability and language impairment.
ASD occurs in every racial and ethnic group, and across all socioeconomic levels. However, boys are significantly more likely to develop ASD than girls.
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