Levels of Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorders come in a wide variety. While all ASD patients experience some form of difficulty with social interactions, problems with verbal and/or nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors, a number of disorders and combinations of symptoms may qualify a patient as having as ASD.

There are six well-known disorders that fall on the autism spectrum. Each of the disorders are extremely complex, with symptoms varying from patient to patient and with individualized treatment plans being vital for every individual patient. If you have concerns about your child’s development, it is crucial that you schedule an appointment with his/her pediatrician so a proper diagnosis can be made.

  • Autism or Autism Disorder – This disorder is what is commonly imagined when a person hears “autism.” A child with this disorder often has trouble communicating or connecting with others. These children also tend to focus on repetitive behaviors. This ASD is usually diagnosed by the age of 3, and symptoms may range from mild to severe.

  • Regressive Autism Spectrum Disorder – Occurring in roughly 20-30% of ASD patients, Regressive Autism Spectrum Disorder sees children developing normally until around 18-24 months of age, when they begin to regress, or lose previous progress.

  • Pervasive Development Disorder – Also known as atypical autism, this blanket term is given to children who have autistic traits but do not fully meet all criteria for an Autism diagnosis.

  • Asperger’s Syndrome – Patients with Asperger’s Syndrome do not have the same difficulty with language that many other ASD patients have. To the contrary, they tend to score above average on intelligence tests and have excellent language skills. Asperger’s Syndrome patients are often socially awkward and engage in abnormal, repetitive behaviors.

  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – This is an extremely rare condition, and many mental health professionals argue against it being classified as an ASD. In Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, a child who has been developing normally suddenly loses language, motor, social, and toilet skills between ages two and four.

  • Rett Syndrome – This condition is very similar to Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, but almost exclusively affects girls.


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