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What are the Three Types of Autism Spectrum Disorders?

Types of Autism

  • Autistic Disorder
  • Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Pervasive Development Disorder

You may be one of the millions of people around the world affected by autism, whether you know someone personally affected by the disorder or have realized its impact on people and the world. You may be wondering what autism is and what the three types of autism spectrum disorders are. The information provided in this article can give you all the necessary tools to understand autism and its three different spectrums.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, autism spectrum disorder is defined as a “group of developmental disorders” that “includes a wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability.” Autism can be found in around 1 in 68 people in some shape or form. Those with autism spectrum disorders have these main characteristics:

  • Repetitive behaviors and limited interests.
  • Symptoms that affect their abilities to function properly in social aspects of life.
  • Ongoing social problems that can make it difficult to communicate or interact with others.
  • Symptoms that are usually found in the beginning years of life.

Those who are autistic can be impaired only mildly by these symptoms, while some others may be impacted severely. Here is where the three types of spectrum disorders come into play. Each type of spectrum is defined by its varying degrees of symptoms. Next, we will outline the three types of autism spectrum disorders.

Autistic Disorder

This type of spectrum can also be known as “classic” autism. This type is usually what people think of when they hear the world “autism.” According to the Autism Support of West Shore, those with this type of spectrum disorder have “significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests.” These people are usually affected by intellectual disabilities as well. This type is considered the most severe form of autism and also the most common.

People who have autistic disorder may have problems with being touched by other people, perform restricted or repetitive behaviors, experience sensory overload, and may have issues communicating. Most other types of autism have the same symptoms, but this particular type means that those symptoms are much more severe.

Asperger’s Syndrome

This is one of the milder types of autism spectrum disorder. People with Asperger’s may experience the same symptoms as the other types, but they tend to be milder. Usually, people with Asperger syndrome have unusual behaviors and interests, in addition to social challenges. These symptoms tend to be the most difficult of this type of spectrum, as problems with language or intellectual disability do not tend to affect those with Asperger’s.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder

This type of autism spectrum disorder is also known as “atypical autism.” This type is typically reserved for those who meet some of the criteria for the other two types, but not all of them. Those affected with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-not otherwise specified) experience milder symptoms or fewer symptoms. Quite typically, those with PDD-NOS only suffer from social and communication challenges. These people tend to be the highest-functioning autistic types and simply do not fit into any of the other categories or types of autism spectrum disorders.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Online Programs

More and more information has come to light about autism in recent decades, shedding insight on issues that millions of people all around the world suffer with. This information on the three types of autism spectrum disorders can help you understand these people better and maybe even give you the tools to do your part in helping them live better lives.