- What is autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?
- What are the symptoms of ASD?
- How is ASD diagnosed?
- What are some other conditions that children with ASD may have?
- How is ASD treated?
- How common is ASD?
- What causes ASD?
- What efforts are under way to improve the detection and treatment of ASD?
- How can I help a child who has ASD?
- For More Information on Autism Spectrum Disorder
What is autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?
Autism is a group of developmental brain disorders, collectively called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The term "spectrum" refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment, or disability, that children with ASD can have. Some children are mildly impaired by their symptoms, but others are severely disabled.
ASD is diagnosed according to guidelines listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition - Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR).1 The manual currently defines five disorders, sometimes called pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs), as ASD:
- Autistic disorder (classic autism)
- Asperger's disorder (Asperger syndrome)
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)
- Rett's disorder (Rett syndrome)
- Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD).
This information packet will focus on autism, Asperger syndrome, and PDD-NOS, with brief descriptions of Rett syndrome and CDD in the section, "Related disorders." Information can also be found on the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websiteExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer..