Autism Spectrum Disorder- Do you know what it means? Let’s break it down one word at a time.
Autism: a diagnosis often made in early childhood relating to a child’s lack of social connection to others or situations around him. Autism is frequently diagnosed during pre-school years. Common markers are loss of language or poorly developed language skills, poor eye contact, and inability to pick up social cues. Behaviors associated with autism are frequently perseverative such as rocking, spinning and head banging. It is more common in boys than girls.
Spectrum: It is like a rainbow. Autism is measured according to severity. On one end, there is Aspergers Syndrome. Individuals with Aspergers are the highest functioning on the spectrum. On the other end of the range are individuals diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Non Specific Origin. This is an umbrella diagnosis for individuals characterised by autistic behaviors but the degree and origin is unidentified. Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum is classic Autism.
Disorder: A group of behaviors which are atypical and maladaptive.
That being said, the American Psychiatric Association is rewriting the DSM (diagnostic statistical manual) and will be redefining autism. It is possible that Aspergers and Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses may disappear.