Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior.
The term "Autism spectrum" in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity.
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Symptoms of Autism (Autism Disease Symptoms)
Each child with autism spectrum disorder is likely to have a unique pattern of behavior and level of severity — from low functioning to high functioning (Signs of Mild Autism, Mild Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autism Disorders)
Some children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty learning, and some have signs of lower than normal intelligence. Other children with the disorder have normal to high intelligence — they learn quickly, yet have trouble communicating and applying what they know in everyday life and adjusting to social situations.
Because of the unique mixture of symptoms in each child, severity can sometimes be difficult to determine. It's generally based on the level of impairments and how they impact the ability to function.
Fails to respond to his or her name or appears not to hear you at times
Resists cuddling and holding, and seems to prefer playing alone, retreating into his or her own world
Has poor eye contact and lacks facial expression
Doesn't speak or has delayed speech, or loses previous ability to say words or sentences
Can't start a conversation or keep one going, or only starts one to make requests or label items
Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm and may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
Repeats words or phrases verbatim, but doesn't understand how to use them
Doesn't appear to understand simple questions or directions
Doesn't express emotions or feelings and appears unaware of others' feelings
Doesn't point at or bring objects to share interest
Inappropriately approaches a social interaction by being passive, aggressive or disruptive
Has difficulty recognizing nonverbal cues, such as interpreting other people's facial expressions, body postures or tone of voice
As infants, they may not smile or display any anticipatory posture for being picked up as an adult approaches
Difficulty in learning social skills or interacting with people
May not prefer to make friends and instead plays alone
Avoids eye contact
Inability to understand feelings or emotions of others around them, due to which they may not reciprocate with appropriate response
Trouble adapting to routine changes
May respond differently to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
This is sometimes called “classic” autism. It is what most people think of when hearing the word “autism”. People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.
People with Asperger syndrome usually have milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified
This is sometimes called “atypical autism,” or PDD-NOS. People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with atypical autism. These people usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder of the neurodevelopment type.
It is characterized by difficulty paying attention, excessive activity and acting without regards to consequences.
Oppositional Deficient Disorder (ODD)
ODD is a condition in which a child displays an ongoing pattern of an angry or irritable mood, defiant or argumentative behavior, and vindictiveness toward people in authority. The child's behavior often disrupts the child's normal daily activities, including activities within the family and at school.