Autism: Autism Society of America Definition (1997-present)
- A developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life.
- It results from a neurological abnormality and is often accompanied by associated
- Autism interferes with the normal functioning of the brain in the areas of reasoning,
social interaction, and communication.
- Children and adults with autism typically have deficiencies in verbal and nonverbal
communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities.
- The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relating to the
- Children with autism may exhibit repeated body movements (hand-flapping,
rocking), unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resistance to
changes in routine.
- In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present.
- It is conservatively estimated that nearly 400,000 people in the US today have some
form of autism.
- Its prevalence rate now places it as the third most common developmental disability-
more common than Down Syndrome.
Development Disorder) DSM-IV, 1994
Any one of the following Disorders:
1. Autistic Disorder
2. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
3. Asperger's Disorder
4. Rhett's Disorder S. PDD-NOS
Refers to all of the subcategories of PDD as defined in the most
recent edition of the DSM-IV.
Multisystems Developmental Disorders
Greenspan's term for those children with ASD who show good affect
or the potential for good affect.
A communicative disorder which begins after a period of normal development
and which may result from sub-clinical seizure activity in the temporal lobe.
Children with this disability appear to experience a kind of word deafness.
When this happens during the first three years of life, the children's behavior
may resemble the behavior of children
with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (DSM-IV, 1994).
A syndrome observed in children who have the following characteristics:
1. Precocious ability to read words, far above what would be expected
at the chronological age, or brain intense fascination with numbers or letters.
2. Significant difficulty understanding verbal language.
3. Abnormal social skills, including difficulty socializing and interacting
appropriately with people (American Hyperlexia Association, 1997).
* Note that many children with autism present with symptoms of hyperlexia, and
that the DSM-IV (1994) does not distinguish hyperlexia as a separate syndrome.
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