Autism spectrum or autistic spectrum is the term that refers and describes a range of conditions in the DSM-5 published by the American Psychiatric Association classified as neurodevelopment disorders. Autism is characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and interaction across multiple contexts, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. These deficits are typically present in early childhood and may lead to clinically significant functional impairment.
This relatively new definition encompasses the prior diagnosis of autism, Asperger syndrome, pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified, and childhood disintegrative disorder. In the prior DSM-4, Asperger syndrome was distinguished from autism by the lack of delay or deviance in early language development. Current categorization finds all of these disorders “along the spectrum” and are classified together as “autism spectrum disorder.”
Comic writer, Rebecca Burgess has managed a nice way to explain and help all of us better “understand the spectrum” utilizing cartoon character, Archie.
There are many ways to be able to help our loved ones that have been diagnosed with Autism; including interventions, support, and finding ways to help build on strengths.