What are the different types of autism spectrum disorders?
by Navneet Anand
On 11 May, 2020
Tom and Kathleen Finland, living in Maine were ecstatic when their first child, Tim was born. They had been looking to start a family for long and the birth of Young Tim was eagerly awaited. As Tim grew up, they begin to notice that he indulged in repetitive activities & behavior, poor social skills to the extent that guests thought he was badly raised and frequent outbursts of anger on a regular basis. They began to blame themselves and assumed that it was poor parenting. On one occasion a friend of Kathleen dropped by who happened to be a registered nurse. During her visit, she noticed Tim and his behavior as well as chatted in-depth with Kathleen. She suggested to her that Tim be examined for Autism as he displayed symptoms of the same. The Finlands were shocked but never the less complied with the friend’s suggestion. An assessment by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst confirmed their fears. Tim was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. You will be happy to know his treatment has started and he is showing improvements with time thanks to the intensive therapy at home.
On educating themselves about Aspergers Syndrome, Tom and Kathleen discovered that Aspergers Syndrome is just one of the different types of autism spectrum disorders that afflict people worldwide. We list them for you here:
Aspergers Syndrome – Named after Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who diagnosed it in the 1940s, it is characterized by poor social skills, difficulty in non-verbal communication as well as exhibiting interests & activities which are repetitive, intense or singularly focused. In many cases, children have been misdiagnosed as its symptoms overlap with those of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or Attention deficit syndrome.
Rett Syndrome – This form of progressive autism affects girls and symptoms are visible when they are about 6 months or so. Symptoms get severe with age such as grinding teeth, seizures and delayed growth. Lifelong care is required for such persons.
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) - It is also known as Heller’s syndrome named after educator Thomas Heller. It is a rare condition that afflicts children at the age of 3 years or more (up to 10 years in some cases). It manifests itself in the form of delays in language, social and motor skills. Children afflicted with this condition have 2-3 years of normal development like any other children. A link has been established between CDD and seizure disorders.
Classic Autistic Disorder – It is also referred to as Kanner’s syndrome and its symptoms are avoiding eye contact, sensitivity of various sensory organs, following a strict routine daily and difficulty in communication. Persons with this condition live in their own world and show no interest in the world around them.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) - This is a mild form of autism where children exhibit delayed social or developmental skills such as walking or talking. Treatment is easier as the children have better-coping skills with their challenges
Constant research keeps us updated on various facets of autism spectrum disorders with new diagnoses, discoveries, treatments and classifications. Keep tuned in!