The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) estimates that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects 1 in 88 US children. It affects males 5 times more than females. The overall rate in Maryland is 1 in 80 children; 1 in 49 boys and 1 in 256 girls.
Autism is a complex neurological disorder. Both children and adults with autism show difficulty with social interactions and verbal and nonverbal communication.
Many individuals with autism demonstrate strong passions and interests. In addition, individuals with autism may have heightened responses to information from their senses. They may have difficulty with certain sounds, the way things look, the texture of foods or clothing against their skin.
Symptoms can be mild to severe (and each individual's collection of symptoms are unique) - for this reason autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder.
Autism can present unique challenges to the individuals with ASD, as well as to their families, caregivers, educators, and peers. It is a hidden disability in the sense that the individuals affected are, in many cases, physically indistinguishable from their peers.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified, or PDD-NOS, for short, is a condition on the spectrum that has those with it exhibiting some, but not all, of the symptoms associated with classic autism. That can include difficulty socializing with others, repetitive behaviors, and heightened sensitivities to certain stimuli.
The term "PDD" is widely used by professionals to refer to children with autism and related disorders; however, there is a great deal of disagreement and confusion among professionals concerning the PDD label. Diagnosis of PDD, including autism or any other developmental disability, is based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association (Washington, DC, 1994), and is the main diagnostic reference of mental health professionals in the U.S. According to the DSM-IV, the term "PDD" is not a specific diagnosis, but an umbrella term under which the specific diagnoses are defined.
What distinguishes Asperger's Disorder from Autism Disorder is the severity of the symptoms and the absence of language delays. Children with Asperger's Disorder may be only mildly affected and frequently have good language and cognitive skills. To the untrained observer, a child with Asperger's Disorder may just seem like a normal child behaving differently.
Asperger's Syndrome is a neurological disorder that, like others on the spectrum, is marked by difficulties in communication and social interaction. The set of characteristics easily identified with the condition was first identified by Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger.
Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a neurobiological disorder on the higher-functioning end of the autism spectrum. An individual's symptoms can range from mild to severe. While sharing many of the same characteristics as other Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD's) including Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA), AS has been recognized as a distinct medical diagnosis in Europe for almost 60 years, but has only been included in the U.S. medical diagnostic manual since 1994 ("Asperger Disorder" in the DSM-IV).
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I am an adult and wonder if I may have ASD. Should I get a diagnosis?
Diagnosis: The Process for Adults
Getting a diagnosis of autism, or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), can be a really positive thing. A lot of people say their diagnosis has helped them to understand why they have difficulties with some things and why they are especially good at some things.
Diagnosis for Adults
Getting a diagnosis of autism in adulthood can be a mixed blessing and some people decide that they are happy with self-diagnosis.