Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder seen in children. “Spectrum” is used because children can have a wide range of symptoms, skills, and challenges.

Autism spectrum disorder includes other conditions that used to be diagnosed separately. These are:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)
  • Asperger’s syndrome

Children who have autism normally show signs at an early age. Some of the most obvious signs show up around age 2 or 3, but they can also be seen in babies. These signs are delays in social and communication skills. See the ASD Handbook for common “red flags.”

PDD-NOS may be used to diagnose a child who has some characteristics of autism, but not all of them. It may also be used if your child has “mild” symptoms. PDD-NOS is different from one child to the next. Your child’s doctor can help you understand this diagnosis better.

Asperger’s syndrome
Asperger’s syndrome is similar to autism. But children with Asperger’s typically learn how to communicate at a normal age. He or she may even have above-average language skills. This is one reason that Asperger’s may not be noticed until a child is older. Sometimes, Asperger’s is not diagnosed until adulthood.

ASD Resources for Parents and Guardians
We have a toll-free Autism Support Line that you can call if you need information about autism services for your child: 1-866-415-1708.

For more information about ASD and available services, view the ASD Handbook.