Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)
Under the DSM-5 classification system, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) now encompasses previously diagnosed Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.
ASD is characterized by:
1. Deficits in social communication and social interaction
Social-emotional reciprocity often lacking in the give and take of conversations
Nonverbal communicative behaviors such as poor eye contact, body language, facial expressions and gestures
Developing and maintaining relationships such as imaginative play or making friends.
2. Restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities meeting at least two of the following
Stereotyped/repetitive speech, motor movements, or use of objects
Excessive adherence to routines/rituals or excessive resistance to change
Highly restricted fixated interests, abnormal in intensity or focus
Hyper or hypo reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment
3. Symptoms must be present in childhood but may not be recognized until much later
4. Symptoms limit and impair everyday functioning.
For individuals who have social deficits but do not have a history of or at present show restricted repetitive behaviors (#2), they may not be classified as having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Instead, they may be diagnosed with Social Communicative Disorder.
There are 3 levels of severity:
Requiring Mild support
Requiring Moderate support
Requiring Very Substantial support (High)
Diagnosis requires a team of multidisciplinary professionals to adequately assess ASD. For role of Testing of Autism, click here.