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How Many Different Types Of Autism Are There

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Do Symptoms Of Autism Change Over Time

Ask Dr. Doreen: How Many Types of Autism are There?

For many children, symptoms improve with age and behavioral treatment. During adolescence, some children with ASD may become depressed or experience behavioral problems, and their treatment may need some modification as they transition to adulthood. People with ASD usually continue to need services and supports as they get older, but depending on severity of the disorder, people with ASD may be able to work successfully and live independently or within a supportive environment.

The Different Kinds Of Autism Explained

Autism is not an illness it is a developmental disorder that affects one in fifty-nine individuals. The key characteristics of autism include difficulties with communication, language and social interaction, as well as fixations with routine and specific topics.People with autism typically show symptoms as an infant however, the disorder will stay with them for their lifetime. Early identification is vital to provide the best developmental support for autistic children. However, there are different types of autism in adults, which may be milder and take more time to identify.Understanding autism can be extremely confusing, especially with recent changes in how it is diagnosed and defined. To dispel this confusion, we will take a look at the autism spectrum, the original five forms of autism, and how they are classified today.

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism is not a single disorder, but a spectrum of closely related disorders with a shared core of symptoms. Every individual on the autism spectrum has problems to some degree with social interaction, empathy, communication, and flexible behavior. But the level of disability and the combination of symptoms varies tremendously from person to person. In fact, two kids with the same diagnosis may look very different when it comes to their behaviors and abilities.

If youre a parent dealing with a child on the autism spectrum, you may hear many different terms including high-functioning autism, atypical autism, autism spectrum disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder. These terms can be confusing, not only because there are so many, but because doctors, therapists, and other parents may use them in dissimilar ways.

But no matter what doctors, teachers, and other specialists call the autism spectrum disorder, its your childs unique needs that are truly important. No diagnostic label can tell you exactly what challenges your child will have. Finding treatment that addresses your childs needs, rather than focusing on what to call the problem, is the most helpful thing you can do. You dont need a diagnosis to start getting help for your childs symptoms.

Whats in a name?

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Previous Autism Spectrum Disorder Terminology

Much of the misconception surrounding ASD comes from terminology that was used prior to 2013. In this prior classification system, children fell into one of the following three categories:

  • Autistic Disorder More severe cases of ASD were previously classified as autistic disorder. The condition was often defined by communication troubles, repetitive behaviors, and social challenges among other symptoms.
  • Aspergers Syndrome On the opposite end of the spectrum was Aspergers syndrome which was characterized by milder symptoms which may impact an individuals communication or social skills.
  • Pervasive Development Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified For children who fell in the middle and didnt fully meet the requirements for either autistic disorder or Aspergers, a diagnosis of PDD-NOS was often given.

Levels Of Autism Spectrum Disorder


Currently there are 3 levels of Autism Spectrum Disorder. These levels classify how autism is displayed from person to person. So ASD ranges from mild, moderate to severe. Level 1 is a type of autism that requires minimal supports. Level 2 is moderate, and substantial support, and Level 3 requires intensive support.

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An Insight Into The Various Types Of Autism

Let us now get a deeper insight into each of the following forms of Autism.

Fig 3:

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the various types of autism spectrum disorders present a significant overlap with one another. The following 3 characteristics are carefully evaluated to arrive at the right conclusion:

  • Social skills within families coping with Autism and externally
  • Autism Communication Skills

For example, it is extremely hard to discriminate between mild PDD and moderate Aspergers symptoms as a patient may demonstrate both characteristics in the autism spectrum quotient.

Treatment And Development Strategies For The Types Of Autism

Children with less extreme forms of autism, such as Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder, can benefit from social skills classes as well as taking part in behavioral modification to help with possible obsessive tendencies. In some cases, an altered diet free of preservatives, gluten, artificial sugars, and food coloring can be beneficial. Since many children with Level 1 ASD are advanced learners, looking into differentiated curriculum to challenge and hold their attention can provide numerous benefits.

Similarly, children diagnosed with PDD-NOS can greatly benefit from strategic changes in nutrition combined with occupational therapy and classes in life-skills development.

Girls with Rett Syndrome often need lifelong care because other symptoms may appear or grow more severe as the child ages. Difficulty breathing, cognitive disabilities, grinding teeth, seizures, and growth delays may all need ongoing treatment options. Physical therapy can help increase mobility and straighten limbs, while occupational therapy may help reduce involuntary movements and promote self care. Finally, speech therapy, diet modification, and certain medications can help control seizures.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder requires early intervention on the part of doctors and parents via specialized and focused nutrition and speech and occupational therapy. Behavior modification helps children cope with this type of autism.

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Social Communication And Interaction Skills

Social communication and interaction skills can be challenging for people with ASD.

Examples of social communication and social interaction characteristics related to ASD can include:

  • Avoids or does not keep eye contact
  • Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
  • Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
  • Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
  • Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age
  • Does not share interests with others
  • Does not point or look at what you point to by 18 months of age
  • Does not notice when others are hurt or sad by 24 months of age
  • Does not pretend in play
  • Shows little interest in peers
  • Has trouble understanding other peoples feelings or talking about own feelings at 36 months of age or older
  • Does not play games with turn taking by 60 months of age

Autism Screening And Diagnosis

Autism & Pediatric Diseases : Different Types of Autism

It can be hard to get a definite diagnosis of autism. Your doctor will focus on behavior and development.

For children, diagnosis usually takes two steps.

  • A developmental screening will tell your doctor whether your child is on track with basic skills like learning, speaking, behavior, and moving. Experts suggest that children be screened for these developmental delays during their regular checkups at 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months of age. Children are routinely checked specifically for autism at their 18-month and 24-month checkups.
  • If your child shows signs of a problem on these screenings, theyâll need a more complete evaluation. This might include hearing and vision tests or genetic tests. Your doctor might want to bring in someone who specializes in autism disorders, like a developmental pediatrician or a child psychologist. Some psychologists can also give a test called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule .

If you werenât diagnosed with autism as a child but notice yourself showing signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor.

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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, autism spectrum disorder is defined as a group of developmental disorders that includes a wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability. Autism can be found in around 1 in 68 people in some shape or form. Those with autism spectrum disorders have these main characteristics:

  • Repetitive or restrictive behaviors, as well as limited interests.
  • Symptoms that affect their abilities to function properly in social aspects of life.
  • Ongoing social problems that can make it difficult to communicate or interact with others.

To be more specific, they list more symptoms that are split into two categories.

Social communication / interaction behaviors may include:

Restrictive / repetitive behaviors may include:

  • Repeating certain behaviors or having unusual behaviors. For example, repeating words or phrases, a behavior called echolalia
  • Having a lasting intense interest in certain topics, such as numbers, details, or facts
  • Having overly focused interests, such as with moving objects or parts of objects
  • Getting upset by slight changes in a routine
  • Being more or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, noise, clothing, or temperature

Symptoms can typically be observed early in life, as young as two-years old however, many individuals are not diagnosed until the school-age years or even high school. It all depends on the severity of symptoms and having someone notice that there is an issue.

How Common Is Autism

An autism diagnosis occurs in one of every sixty-eight births. An early intervention program can be helpful when autism is discovered in younger children. In some cases, with the right treatment program, a child can even outgrow some of the issues associated with autism and begin to display better social and communication skills.

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Are There Different Types Of Asd

ASD used to be called Pervasive Developmental Disorder . These terms mean the same thing. PDD is the diagnostic classification in the DSM-IV . In the DSM-IV, PDD included five types or categories: autistic disorder, Aspergers disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, Retts syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified .

The American Psychiatric Association released the new fifth edition of the DSM in May 2013. In the DSM-5 the term ASD has replaced PDD. Additionally, the DSM-5 does not have any catego-ries under ASD so that all individuals meeting the diagnostic criteria will fall under one autism spectrum. This change was made because research indicates the categories that were under PDD cannot be reliably distinguished. This means the categories of autistic disorder, Aspergers disorder, and PDD-NOS will no longer be usedinstead the diagnosis of ASD will be used to cover the full spectrum.

Heres What You Should Know About The Different Types Of Autism


We often talk about autism existing on a spectrum, and thats because there are different types of autism, all of which manifest through various degrees of signs, symptoms, behaviors, and long-term outcomes. And, just as important as raising general awareness about autism is, raising awareness about the multiple ways it can appear in children and adults is critical in understanding how to offer the right support.

In its broadest definition, autism is a developmental disorder that impacts an individuals ability to communicate and socialize. Common signs of the disorder included delayed speech or lack of speech, difficulties making eye contact or sustaining social interaction, and preoccupations with certain activities or sensory stimuli. But within this larger definition are five distinct types of autism that together make up the spectrum of the illness. Heres what to know about them.

The 5 Primary Forms of Autism

There are five common forms of autism to be aware of:

  • Aspergers Syndrome A type of autism that overlaps in many ways with disorders like attention deficit disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder , including displays of obsessive interest in certain subjects or activities and difficulties responding to and reading social cues. Children and adults with Aspergers Syndrome may appear quite shy or reserved, and they may have high sensory sensitivity. In many cases, they are quite intelligent as well.
  • Rare Types of Autism

    Learn More

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    Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder

    In order to determine whether your child has autism spectrum disorder or another developmental condition, clinicians look carefully at the way your child interacts with others, communicates, and behaves. Diagnosis is based on the patterns of behavior that are revealed.

    If you are concerned that your child has autism spectrum disorder and developmental screening confirms the risk, ask your family doctor or pediatrician to refer you immediately to an autism specialist or team of specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Since the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is complicated, it is essential that you meet with experts who have training and experience in this highly specialized area.

    The team of specialists involved in diagnosing your child may include:

  • Child psychologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Special education teachers
  • Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a brief process. There is no single medical test that can diagnose it definitively instead, in order to accurately pinpoint your childs problem, multiple evaluations and tests may be necessary.

    What Are The Different Types Of Autism A Simple Guide

    As a parent or guardian, its very typical to worry about your childs development. Raising a child can be very rewarding, but this responsibility will require a lot from you. For one, you need to make sure that your child grows happy and healthy, and is free from any kind of disorder, like autism, for instance.

    Autism spectrum disorder, or simply autism, is a broad range of conditions that is usually characterized by having challenges in ones social skills and nonverbal communication, as well as repetitive behaviors. Autism is one of the most common disorders in the United States as it affects 1 in every 54 children.

    When left untreated for long periods, autism can result in difficulty in forming and maintaining relationships, social isolation, and familial discord. These can adversely affect a persons mental and physical health.

    Are you wondering what are the different types of Autism? If yes, check out our guide on the key signs to look for and main things to understand.

    Are you a parent, caregiver, friend, or friend of someone with autism? If so, its helpful to understand the different types of autism.

    Having this information will make it easier for you to understand the illness and help your loved one cope with it. This is especially important if your child has been diagnosed with autism.

    Aside from checking reliable websites, such as Fired Up People, below youll find a simple guide to the main five different types of autism.

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    Why The Old Definitions Of Autism Were Flawed

    The old autism subtypes did recognize that autism is very much a spectrum disorder, meaning different people experience different symptoms. But, there was a lot of grey area in determining what symptoms were most important for putting any one individual into one category versus the other. Veenstra-Vanderweele adds: The shift to a single diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder reflects the reality that we dont know how to split up the disorder into groups of people.

    The definitions of those four subtypes of autism help elucidate why the distinctions were not always clear and where there was overlap between the criteria for the different subtypes:

    Autistic Disorder This had been the broadest subtype of autism. Some considered it to characterize the classic case of autism. Symptoms could include any combination of language challenges, repeating specific behaviors, learning disabilities, or problems with speech and nonverbal communication. One individual with this diagnosis might have also had very unique strengths and differences from others.

    Some of these people really have very specific interests that some might label as obsessive, Veenstra-Vanderweele says. Others categorized in this way might be unable to leave behind a topic in conversation, he adds.

    What Are The 5 Different Types Of Autism

    Autism Spectrum Disorder

    The different kinds of autism include:

    • Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder , previously called Aspergers Syndrome
    • Rhett Syndrome, although this has been removed from the spectrum
    • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
    • Kanners Syndrome or Classic Autistic Disorder and
    • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified .

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    How Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Play

    Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder tend to be less spontaneous than other kids. Unlike a typical curious little kid pointing to things that catch their eye, children with ASD often appear disinterested or unaware of whats going on around them. They also show differences in the way they play. They may have trouble with functional play, or using toys that have a basic intended use, such as toy tools or cooking set. They usually dont play make-believe, engage in group games, imitate others, collaborate, or use their toys in creative ways.

    The Five Types Of Asperger’s

    It still pisses me off that the DSM5 got rid of Aspergers. Not only is Aspergers its own thing but theres differentlevels of it. There areso many genes that go into autism that it might even be split into several different disorders someday. Heres a totallyunscientific set of types based on aspies Ive known:


    These aspies are run by their ids. Theyre the most high-energy and the most likely to blurt out rude shit.Most prone to repetitive behaviors. Also more likely to showtheir feelings than other types. Prone to addictions from Internet browsing to heroin. They usually have more social awareness than theyre given credit for. They can evenbe charismatic for short periods of time, which makes sense because theyre generally the most social. But theyre the hardest aspies to spend extended periods of time with. They used to let their inner monologue run wild when they were younger, driving people away. They may or may not have learned better. Most have developed some pride in their inadvertent tell it like it is attitude, whichis appreciated by certain people. Misdiagnoses include ADHD, bipolar disorder, & borderline.





    Im an Impulsive and myboyfriends a Sluggish. But Ive dated all of them. Especially Methodicals. If you dont like yourself on here you might be able to change with time. Its like the Myers-Briggs for spergs.

    *Image from

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