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PSY 4400 W4 Assignment Autism and Asperger’s Disorder

PSY 4400 W4 Assignment Autism and Asperger’s Disorder

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Autism is an umbrella term for a group of developmental disorders that are neurological in origin and cause social, communication and behavioural challenges.

ASD is the third most common developmental disorder. It is mainly characterized by impaired social interaction and communication and the presence of repetitive behaviours or restricted interests. Children with ASD may also have their sensory sensitivity affected i.e, they may be under or over sensitive to certain senses (eg. loud noises, certain fabrics etc).

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What are the disorders that fall under the autism spectrum?

Here is a brief overview of disorders that fall under the autism spectrum:

Autistic disorder: A child is diagnosed with autism when he or she has all the signs of symptoms of ASD.

Asperger’s Syndrome: Referred to as high functioning Autism, it is characterized by significant issues with social/emotional skills and obsessive focus on certain topics. There is no language or cognitive development delay. Click here for more details.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD NOS): PDD is often referred to as Atypical Autism because it is diagnosed when a child exhibits some but not all characteristics of autism. For instance, if a child exhibits speech delay and certain repetitive behaviors—he would most likely get a diagnosis of PDD (NOS)

Rett Syndrome: Rett Syndrome is a rare and severe disorder which is linked to a defect in the chromosome X, and therefore it mostly affects girls. Rett Syndrome is characterized by normal period of development followed by a slow regression in skills, often loss of communication skills and loss of purposeful hand movements.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: This is a very rare disorder where there is normal development in all areas initially and the onset of regression of skills happens much later than in other disorders of the spectrum. Children with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder experience loss of skills across all (language, social, behavioral and motor) development areas.

Earlier, each condition (autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome) was diagnosed separately but now, these conditions are grouped together and are called as autism spectrum disorder.

What are the signs of ASD?

Any child in the autism spectrum will have difficulties in three main areas:

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