Autism includes several issues and symptoms that range from behavioral, communication, and social challenges. Some of the issues and challenges that are a part of the disorder are abnormal voice or tone, difficulty in social interaction and social withdrawal, abnormal facial expressions or body posture, eye contact avoidance, exhibit repetitive behaviors, deficits and speech and language, behavioral disturbances, monotonous or flat speech, etc.
These issues differ from severe, or mild, or in between, from one individual to another. Also, one individual with Autism may be different from another diagnosed with Autism. For instance, there may be a case wherein a person diagnosed with ASD may have issues related to speech; however, the other Autistic person may not face this challenge.
Types of Autism
As per the DSM 4tr (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), Autism is divided into several types, based on the symptoms and other characteristics. According to this, there exist 3 major types of Autism.
- Asperger’s Syndrome-This type of Autism falls in the milder category of Autism. In this type, those diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome commonly face the same challenges; however, the intensity of their challenges is mild. If you come across a person diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, you may be able to notice a few things straight away. To begin with, people diagnosed with Asperger’s are smart, like any other person, which means that there may be no effect on their cognitive ability because of the disorder. However, they may face trouble regarding their social skills.
Also, a person diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome may tend to find an obsession regarding one or a handful of topics. As a result, they may exhibit repetitive behavioral patterns. However, as per the latest manual, DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), Asperger’s syndrome does not have its own diagnosis anymore. It now belongs to a broader category, that is ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder. In other terms, it’s called “high-functioning disorder” type of ASD.
- Autistic Disorder- Another name for Autistic Disorder is “Classic Autism.” Those who are diagnosed with Autistic Disorder, experience quite significant issues related to social and communication, language delays and exhibit unusual interests and behaviors. As per the experts, this is the most severe autism type and is also most commonly diagnosed out of the total Autism types. Although all types of Autism have common symptoms, however, one thing that makes Autistic disorder different than others is that in this, the symptoms and challenges are of high severity or intensity.
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)-
Another name for Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified, is Atypical Autism. In these criteria, those type of people diagnosed with Autism fit who only meet some criteria out of the other two Autism types. In other words, individuals who are diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified, may experience fewer or milder symptoms as compared to others diagnosed with Autism. Generally, those diagnosed with this Autism type don’t experience challenges related to social and communication abilities. Also, this is the highest-functioning type of Autism.
All these types of Autism existed as per the DSM 4 tr. However, with the latest manual DSM5 replacing the earlier in May 2013, there exists no subdivision of Autism on the basis of types. Instead, as per DSM 5, one single diagnosis is performed for Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is an umbrella term for all Autism subdivisions.
As per the DSM-5 criteria for the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, clinical psychologist or psychiatrists who perform a diagnosis for the mental disorder screen for difficulties related with 2 areas that are repetitive, restricted interests or behavior, and social communication. For a person to be diagnosed with ASD, he/she must experience challenges in both areas. Also, they should have had challenges from their early childhood days. The symptoms and challenges that are experienced by someone on the spectrum are quite clear from these. In case you notice any of these challenges or issues in the child, try to stay strong and consult a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist who is eligible to perform a diagnosis. Unfortunately, if the diagnosis is positive, getting to know about it at an earlier stage would be the best for the child.
Starting the treatment of Autism as early as possible may help decrease or even diminish the symptoms. The treatment of Autism consists of several therapies and strategies for the intervention of symptoms and challenges faced by the child. For this, the child can be provided with Occupational, speech and language, hydro, play and other therapies, depending upon their developmental needs. You can also search online for a good therapy centre near you. For this, type in your browser, “autism counseling near me” or “centre for autism counseling near me” and you would get the desired results.