The National Institute of Mental Health defines Autism Spectrum Disorder as a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Autism is said to be a developmental disorder because the signs and symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life, but ASD can be diagnosed at any age.
Under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, people with Autism Spectrum Disorder generally have:
Since there is such a variation in the type and severity of symptoms that people experience, Autism is classified as a spectrum disorder. Treatments and services have been proven to improve a person’s ability to function in daily life. It is recommended that all children be screened for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Not all people with Autism Spectrum Disorder show the same behaviors, but most will show some level of impairment with social interactions, restricted interests, or repetitive behaviors. Common signs and symptoms are:
If you notice these signs and symptoms, visit a diagnostic center to be tested. Treatment for ASD should begin as soon as possible to potentially reduce difficulties later in life.