Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder of the brain that impairs communication skills, social skills, and the ability to interact with the environment.  The Centers for Disease Control now estimates that 1 in 68 children has been identified as having autism spectrum disorder.

Autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder, meaning that symptoms and characteristics can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations.  Although ASD is defined by the characteristics below, children and adults can exhibit any combination of the behaviors in any degree of severity.  Each individual with ASD is unique.

Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) according to the DSM-5


  • Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities
  • Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in school, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning

Characteristics often observed in individuals with ASD


  • Absence or delay of speech and language
  • Difficulty relating to other children and adults
  • Sensory challenges (Hyper- or hypo-reactivity to sensory input, stimulus overselectivity)
  • Demand for sameness in the environment
  • Self-stimulatory behavior
  • Restricted repertoire of activities and interests
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Difficulty learning new behavior
  • Difficulty generalizing skills

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The above information is not intended to diagnose or treat and cannot take the place of consultation with a qualified professional.