Autism, or autism spectrum disorder ASD , is a developmental disorder. It affects how people communicate and interact with others , as well as how they behave and learn. Autism is a lifelong condition and symptoms and signs can first appear when a child is very young. Autism cannot be cured, but therapies and support services can help a person with ASD improve their symptoms and quality of life. Good to know: While the causes of autism are unclear, a large body of scientific research shows that there is absolutely no link between autism and vaccines. Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that people can experience a wide range of symptoms and of varying severities.
In fact, people diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified PDD-NOS are no more likely to marry or have a job than those with more disabling forms of autism, according to a Norwegian study published online in June in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 1. Early intervention has the potential to alter this trajectory, say experts. These findings provide support for the proposed merging of pervasive developmental disorder into the autism spectrum in the DSM-5, the edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM set to be published in , the researchers say. The new edition of the manual takes a spectrum approach , absorbing the separate categories of childhood disintegrative disorder, Asperger syndrome and PDD-NOS into the broad category of autism spectrum disorder.
Here you can find information about diagnosis for adults who are autistic , or think they may be autistic. There are many online 'autism tests' available, but none of these can guarantee accuracy. You can also read our information on what to do after diagnosis. You may be wondering if you are autistic. Perhaps you have read something about autism, or seen a programme on TV, and think that it describes some of your own experiences.
Many older adults have symptoms of autism spectrum disorder ASD but remain undiagnosed. The reason? They reached adulthood before public and clinical awareness of ASD increased and before the current diagnostic criteria for ASD were formulated. Additionally, mild or high-functioning autism is particularly easy to overlook by loved ones and medical professionals alike, as symptoms are not always obvious and misdiagnoses are common. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder thought to be predominantly genetic or heritable, and is currently diagnosed in roughly one in 68 children in North America.