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Health & Safety

Autism Spectrum DisordersPuzzle Ribbon

Autism spectrum disorder is the term used to apply to all disorders that are considered autism. This refers to both autism spectrum disorders, or ASD, and autism spectrum conditions, or ASC. Those who suffer from one of these conditions have problems relating to others in their peer or social groups and have difficulties interacting with others.

The main type of disorder falling under this category is autism, but Asperger Syndrome is closely related. Asperger's typically affects girls more often than boys, and children with this condition function more highly than those with autism. Some children also suffer from the related disorder known as Rett Syndrome.

Autism spectrum disorders typically present in childhood and, in most cases, during early childhood development. Parents generally note that the child has difficulties playing with others, begins walking late, doesn't speak, has a small vocabulary or has troubles when it comes to potty training. With Asperger's Syndrome, the child may not exhibit any signs until they reach school.

Autism spectrum disorders are characterized by a few common traits. One of those traits is the inability to make eye contact or difficulty in maintaining eye contact. The child will also exhibit problems when it comes to working with others or trying new things. They prefer a set routine and dislike any deviation from the routine. These children can sometimes react violently when their routine is disrupted, especially if they have limited verbal skills. Many of these children are considered non-verbal, meaning they don't speak or they have only a small vocabulary.

Children with an autism spectrum disorder typically learn by routine and by watching certain actions preformed. It may be difficult for them to pick up specific tasks unless they're shown repeatedly how to do the task. There is also something known as an autistic savant, where the individual shows a high level or talent or understanding in one specific area such as music or math.

Subgroups and Related Conditions

Asperger's Syndrome is closely related to autism and in some cases a child may be misdiagnosed as having autism when they actually have Asperger's. A good place to find information on this condition is Asperger's Disorder Homepage. Other helpful resources include Web MD and the Asperger Syndrome Fact Sheet . Rett Syndrome is also related to autism and information can be found at the Rett Syndrome Fact Sheet.


Issues relating to autism spectrum disorders range from the treatment of the disorders to the signs and symptoms of the condition. Those interested in learning more should begin by looking at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. More information can be found at Pediatric Neurology. The World Health Organization also offers information on mental and behavioral disorders.


Interventions are generally viewed in similar light to treatments and there are many theories out there. One of the best websites is the Association for Science in Autism Treatment. Another good resource is Alternative and Innovative Treatments for the Treatment of Autism. Autism Treatments also offers a brief overview of all the treatment options available.

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