Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (“ASD”) are both names for group of complex and important brain development disorders. Those with Autism or ASD have difficulties in social interactions, nonverbal and verbal communication, and can engage in repetitive and/or self-injurious behaviors.
Diagnoses of Autism or ASD are on the rise, now affecting 1 in 68 Americans, with a greater prevalence in males. The causes of autism aren’t precisely understood, but both genetic and environmental factors are thought to be associated with the presentation of this disorder.
The use of the Autism Spectrum Disorder / ASD term was formalized in 2013 with the publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual. A variety of autistic disorders were merged into one label. Individual disorders had included autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. All of these now are put under the label of ASD, and those with one of these disorder will often be said to be “on the Spectrum”.