Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person. Here is a closer look at the different types of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

  1. Autistic Disorder: Also known as classic autism, this is the most common form of ASD. Individuals with autistic disorder usually present with significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many also have intellectual disability.
  2. Asperger Syndrome: Individuals with Asperger syndrome usually have milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviours and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
  3. Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS): Also known as atypical autism, PDD-NOS is considered when individuals do not fully meet the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome but demonstrate some symptoms of each. This could include social and communication challenges or repetitive behaviours.
  4. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: This is a rare condition where children develop normally until age 2-4 and then rapidly lose social, communication, and other skills. This disorder is similar to autistic disorder, but the onset is later and the loss of abilities is dramatic.
  5. Rett Syndrome: Primarily affecting girls, Rett syndrome is characterized by normal early growth and development followed by a slowing of development, loss of purposeful use of the hands, distinctive hand movements, slowed brain and head growth, and motor abnormalities.

Each type of Autism Spectrum Disorder varies widely in severity and symptoms and may go unnoticed until later in life. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial to improving quality of life for individuals with ASD.

Note: This blog is based on information provided by reputable health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).