Autism Types

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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (text revision 1994) indicates there are three clinical subtypes of autism:

Autistic Disorder (299.0): Such individuals have very significant limitations in understanding and using language to communicate, in grasping and responding socially in a wide array of situations, and the tendency to engage in repetitive non-functional behavior and routines and have highly focused, rigid interests. They often exhibit emotional and behavioral outbursts when those routines are interrupted.

Asperger Disorder (299.8): Such individuals exhibit similar, though usually less severe symptoms in social domains and repetitive, compulsive behavior. They often develop language at about the same age as their typical peers, but it often sounds pedantic and lacks appropriate affect. Occasionally children with Asperger’s Disorder exhibit unusual language and reading skills much earlier than expected, called hyperlexia.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (299.8): Such individuals exhibit communication and social behavioral limitations, and may exhibit fixed behavioral routines and compulsive behavior. Their symptoms are usually less severe and do not meet all of the criteria for Autistic Disorder.

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