Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

what is Autism Spectrum disorder

​Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the formal term that, since 2013, has replaced commonly used terms such as Autism, Asperger’s and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – not otherwise specified. The word Spectrum is the important word in this diagnostic term. It is used to cover all the different ways “autism” can look rather than giving completely different terms. This new way of looking at “autism” resulted from the implementation of the DSM-V (the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)). This is the document that health professionals use to determine if a child will receive a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Can there be different levels of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

The DSM-V formally answers the question What is Autism The DSM-V lists the signs and behaviours a child MUST show for a diagnosis of autism. Some children will show some signs to a higher degree than other children. The signs can present very differently. Consequently, the DSM-V introduced a Severity rating of 1, 2 or 3 for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

​Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for some children may be “mild” with limited impact on day to day life. For other children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) it can have notable learning and social challenges that require long-term support.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Just like in a palate of paints – there is a spectrum of “blue” from very pale blue to a deep dark blue - with many shades in between!

They are all “blue” but look different depending on where along the spectrum you focus

Autism Spectrum Disorder

All children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will have some kind of Social Communication problems AND Restrictive, Repetitive Behaviours. However, each child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will look different depending on where along the spectrum of severity they present for each of the different key signs.

Level 3 of ASD: Requiring Very Substantial Support

Level 2 of ASD: Requiring Substantial Support

Level 1 of ASD: Requiring Support.

Further information about what these severity levels of autism might actually look like is provided here.

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