Autism is not a single disorder but a spectrum of closely related disorders with shared symptoms. The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) include five childhood-onset conditions known as pervasive development disorders (PDD).
The three most common PDDs:
- Asperger’s Syndrome
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
(Childhood disintegrative disorder and Rett Syndrome are extremely rare genetic diseases which are also pervasive developmental disorders.)
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological disorder that makes it difficult for people to understand what they see, hear or sense. It is a mysterious, lifelong disorder that affects reasoning, a person’s ability to communicate, both verbal and non-verbal, form relationships, and respond appropriately in social interactions. There can also be unusual and problematic behaviour and sensory processing difficulties.
Autism knows no racial, ethnic, social or economic boundaries. There is no definitive cause or cure for this lifelong disorder that affects four times as many boys as girls. Autism affects each individual differently and can range from severe to mild depending on which autistic disorder an individual is diagnosed with. ASD is one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities.
Autism Spectrum Disorders can’t be cured but are treatable. Early diagnosis and intervention are vital to the development of the child.