Types of Autism

What is Autism? There are many types of autism. 

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, behavior and social interaction.

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Individuals with autism have different strengths and needs. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often used to describe autism.

Autism often manifests in childhood. Autism is not a condition, but early intervention can help children manage specific challenges that they might face in the world.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 of 54 children in the United States are on the autism spectrum.

What’s an autism spectrum disorder?

ASD is the umbrella term that covers the complex neurodevelopmental disorders that comprise autism. It affects communication and behavior.

Autism spectrum describes the range of skills and abilities that autistic people may have.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States (CDC) estimates that around 1 of 54 childrenTrusted Source are on the autism spectrum.

ASD people may be different in how they behave, communicate, interact and learn. They are often not distinguished by their appearance. ASD people can have a wide range of abilities. ASD can make it difficult to communicate with others. ASD can require a lot of support in daily life, while others can live independently and work with minimal to no assistance.

ASD can begin before age 3 and lasts throughout one’s life. However, symptoms may improve with time. ASD symptoms can appear in children as young as 12 months. Some symptoms may not manifest until later, such as 24 months or later. ASD can cause children to learn new skills, meet developmental milestones, and then stop learning or lose their skills.

ASD children can have difficulty making and keeping friends, communicating with others, and understanding the expectations of peers and adults. They may come to the attention of healthcare providers because they also have conditions such as anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which occur more often in people with ASD than in people without ASD.

Risk Factors

ASD can be caused by many factors. A number of factors have been identified as contributing to ASD in children, including genetic, biological, and environmental factors.

While we don’t know much about the causes of ASD, evidence suggests that these factors may increase the risk of ASD in children:

  • Siblings with ASD
  • Certain genetic or chromosomal conditions such as tuberous sclerosis or fragile X syndrome.
  • Complications at birth
  • Being born to parents who are older

CDC is currently conducting one of the most comprehensive U.S. studies on ASD. CDC is also doing a follow-up study on older children who participated in SEED. This will determine the health, functioning, needs, and preferences of individuals with ASD as they age.

How Often ASD Occurs

Since 2000, the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM Network) has been estimating the US’s 8-year-old ASD population.

ASD can occur in any racial, ethnic or socioeconomic group. ASD is four times more common in boys than it is in girls.

If you’re concerned,

You are a parent and you know what it takes for your child to learn and grow. The CDC has created materials that will help you keep track of your child’s development milestones. You can also share any concerns with your doctor at each check-up.

If you suspect your child may have ASD, or have other concerns about your child’s behavior, you should consult your doctor.

If you remain concerned, request a referral to a specialist to conduct a deeper evaluation of your child. These specialists can perform a more thorough evaluation and diagnose your child.

  • Special training is required for developmental pediatricians, doctors who specialize in the care of children with special needs and child development.
  • Child neurologists are doctors who treat the spine, brain and nerves.
  • Psychologists for children or psychiatrists (doctors who are experts in the human mind)

Call your state’s public preschool system at the same time to request a free evaluationsometimes referred to as a Child Find evaluation to determine if your child is eligible for intervention services. This call does not require a referral from a doctor.

The age of your child will determine where you should call the state for a free evaluation.

  • Contact your local early intervention program if your child is younger than 3 years.
    • The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center can help you find the correct contact information for your state.
  • Contact your local public school system if your child is older than 3 years.
    • Even if your child has not yet reached kindergarten age or is enrolled in public schools, you can still call the local elementary school or school board and ask for help to have your child assessed.
    • .

Autism spectrum differences can be present as early as childhood, and can have a significant impact on daily functioning.

These challenges can be experienced by autistic individuals:

  • Communication and interaction difficulties with others
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Having difficulty in different areas of their lives

ASD is most noticeable in the first two yearsTrusted Source. It is also three-to-four times more prevalent in boys than it is in girls. However, some research suggests this could be due bias as some autistic girls might go undiagnosed.

The DSM-5 lists ASD’s main symptoms as a persistent deficit or in interaction with others, and restricted, repetitive behavior.

The National Institute of Mental Health states that ASD symptoms can be detected early.

  • Inconsistent or little eye contact
  • Not sharing the enjoyment of objects and activities with others by pointing out or showing them to them
  • Adult attempts to get attention have difficulty getting your attention.
  • Communication difficulties with back-and-forth communication
  • Talking too long without asking others for their opinions is not a good idea.
  • A flat tone of voice
  • Perspective-taking can be difficult
  • Sensory sensitivities
  • Repeating specific behaviors, words or phrases
  • Passionate interest in certain things
  • Changes in routine can cause anxiety
  • Problems sleeping

Although autistic people can face many difficulties, many may have strengths that others would not consider. These are:

  • Superior memory for facts and figures
  • Expert knowledge of specific topics
  • High level of enthusiasm and motivation in pursuit of interests, and a desire to share that enthusiasm and enjoyment with others
  • High accuracy in different tasks
  • Innovative approaches to problem solving
  • Extraordinary attention to detail
  • Ability to follow directions accurately and under the guidance of an instructor
  • Creative skills that are exceptional
  • Ability to see the world through a different perspective, and offer unique insights
  • A tendency to be loyal, honest, and nonjudgmental in social relationships
  • A unique sense of humor

Diagnoses and levels of autism spectrum disorders

In the first years of a child’s life, medical professionals can screen for autism.

ASD is diagnosed by doctors by looking at the signs and differences, talking with the child, or watching interactions between parent and child, or asking caregivers questions.

There were previously four types of autism. The DSM-5 lists now three levels of autism. Doctors determine which level an individual needs based on how much support they need.

It is important to remember that not all mental health professionals find these levels useful. They prefer to diagnose autism spectrum disorders based on their whole spectrum, rather than using levels.

These are the three levels of ASD:

Level 1 – Requires support

Communication issues Level 1 ASD patients may have to deal with include:

  • It is difficult to initiate social interactions
  • Atypical or ineffective responses to social interaction with others
  • In some cases, there is a decrease in interest in social interaction
  • The ability to communicate clearly and in clear sentences. However, it is important to maintain a two-way dialogue with others.
  • Making friends is difficult

A person suffering from Level 1 ASD might experience repetitive behavioral problems such as:

  • Inflexible behavior that impairs general functioning in one or several contexts
  • Problems switching activities
  • Organization and planning issues can have a negative impact on independence

Level 2 Requires substantial support

Communication issues Level 2 ASD sufferers may have to deal with include:

  • There are noticeable problems with nonverbal and verbal social communication skills
  • social issues being apparent despite supports in place
  • Limited social interaction initiated
  • Reactions to social interactions from other people are less favorable
  • Interactions that are restricted to specific interests
  • There are more important differences in nonverbal communication

A person suffering from Level 2 ASD might experience repetitive behavioral problems such as:

  • Inflexible behavior
  • Trying to adapt to change
  • Restricted or repetitive behavior that is obvious to casual observers and interferes with functioning in multiple contexts
  • It is difficult to change your focus or take action.

Level 3: Requiring very substantial support

Communication issues that Level 3 ASD patients may have to deal with include:

  • There are severe problems in social communication both verbal as well as nonverbal, which can severely impact the functioning of the organization.
  • Very limited social interaction initiated
  • Minimal response to social interaction by others
  • Use few words of clear speech
  • Unusual methods of responding to social needs, and only the most direct ones

A person suffering from Level 3 ASD might experience repetitive behavioral problems such as:

  • Inflexible behavior
  • Extreme difficulty in adapting to change
  • Restricted or repetitive behavior that is detrimental to functioning in all aspects of life
  • Feeling very distressed or difficult when changing your focus or taking action

ASD levels correspond to the severity and support needed for the above-mentioned autism symptoms.

It is also important to remember that autistic people may need different amounts of support depending on their age or situation.

There is no one type of autism. We know there are many types. Most are influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Autism is a spectrum disorder. Each person with autism will have their own strengths and challenges. Autism can affect how people learn, think and solve problems. This ranges from extremely skilled to very challenging. ASD can cause some people to require substantial support, while others may be able to live independently.

Autism can be influenced by many factors. It is often accompanied with sensory sensitivities, medical issues like GI disorders, seizures, or sleep disorders. There are also mental health challenges like anxiety and depression.

The signs of autism typically appear between 2 and 3. It is possible to diagnose autism as early as age 2 or 3. Autism sufferers can benefit from early intervention, which has been shown to have positive effects on their lives later in life.

* The American Psychiatric Association merged four autism diagnoses into one diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 2013. These were autistic disorder and childhood disintegrative disorders, pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD–NOS), and Asperger disorder.

You can help your child with autism by understanding the challenges that each type presents. There are five main types of autism: Asperger’s, Rett, childhood disintegrative disorder (Kenner’s), Kanner’s and pervasive development disorder (not otherwise noted).

There are two main types of autism spectrum disorders

Asperger’s syndrome

Medical professionals no longer use the term Asperger’s syndrome, even though it was common before 2013. The DSM-5 diagnostic manual has reclassified it as level 1 autism spectrum disorder. However, Asperger’s syndrome can still be used informally. In fact, it is more commonly used by autism communities than level 1 spectrum disorder.

Level 1 autism spectrum disorder is characterized by a child who has high intelligence and strong verbal skills, but struggles with social communication. A child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder level 1 will generally display the following symptoms:

Flexibility in thought, behavior

Switching between activities can be challenging

Executive functioning problems

Flat monotone speech is a person who cannot express their feelings or adjust their pitch to suit their environment.

Interacting with peers at school and home is difficult

Rett Syndrome

Rett syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder, is usually diagnosed in childhood. Although it is more common in girls, the disorder can also be found in boys. Rett syndrome can affect every area of a child’s life. With the right care, your child can still live a happy life. You can spend time with your child and support them in doing what they love.

Rett syndrome is characterized by the following symptoms:

Loss of coordination and standard movement

Communication and speech challenges

In some cases, breathing difficulties may occur

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD).

A neurodevelopmental disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD), also known by Heller’s Syndrome or disintegrative psychosis is defined as delayed onset developmental problems in language, motor skills or social function. These areas are normal for children, but they can become problematic after age 3 and even up to 10. Parents who didn’t know their child was autistic can feel very sad about the developmental decline.

Although the cause of CDD remains unknown, researchers have linked it to neurobiology. Children with childhood disintegrative disorder are more common among boys. Nineteen of 10 cases will be boys and one will be girl.

CDD is a disorder in which the child’s development will be normal up until the moment the disorder begins. Regressions can suddenly occur in more than one developmental area of the child’s life. These skills and abilities may be lost by the child:

If toileting skills have been established,

Acquired language and vocabularies

Social skills and adaptive behavior

Some motor skills

Kanner’s Syndrome

Leo Kanner, a psychiatrist at John Hopkins University, discovered Kanner’s Syndrome in 1943. He described it as infantile autism. The condition is also described by doctors as an autistic disorder. Kanner’s syndrome children will be attractive, alert, intelligent, and have the underlying characteristics such as:

Inability to feel an emotional connection with others

Communication and interaction problems

Uncontrolled speech

Obsession with objects

High levels of rote memory and visual skills, with significant difficulties learning in other areas.

Pervasive developmental disorder – Not otherwise Specified (PDDNOS)

Pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), a mild form of autism, presents with a variety of symptoms. Most common are difficulties in language and social development.

You may notice delays in language development, walking, or other motor skills. This type of autism can be identified by watching your child closely and noting where the child is lacking in communication skills. PDD-NOS can sometimes be referred to “subthreshold autism” because it describes an individual who has some, but not all, of autism symptoms.


ASD diagnosis can be complicated because there is no blood test to diagnose it. To diagnose ASD, doctors look at the child’s behavior and developmental progress. ASD may be diagnosed as early as 18 months old. A diagnosis made by an experienced professional at age 2 can be considered reliable. However, many children don’t receive a final diagnosis until much later in life. Many people are diagnosed only when they reach adulthood or are already adolescents. People with ASD may not receive the help they need early because of this delay.


ASD treatments are designed to minimize symptoms that can interfere with daily living and improve quality of life. ASD is a condition that affects every person differently.

Monitoring development

Parents, caregivers, and elders should keep an eye on their children’s development to ensure that they are reaching the expected developmental milestones in play, learning, speaking and acting. If you notice any signs of a problem, or miss a milestone, it is important to seek professional help.

Screening for development

A formal questionnaire is used to screen your child for language, movement and thinking. The doctor or nurse can perform developmental screening, but other workers in the community, health care or schools can also do it.

What are the options for treating autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a condition that has no cure and no clear treatment. ASD treatment depends on the individual’s symptoms.

ASD treatment options may include:

  • Communication and behavioral therapy: These programs teach children how to behave and improve their communication skills. An incentive-based reward system (applied behaviour analysis) can improve learning skills and help you apply them in different settings.
  • Educational therapy Well-organized educational programs can improve communication and social skills. These programs have had positive results for preschoolers who were enrolled.
  • Family therapy: Families are encouraged to communicate with their children and to teach them communication skills, discipline and social skills.
  • Additional therapies: A psychologist will be able to advise you on the best way to handle problematic behavior. Physical therapy and speech therapy can improve communication skills, mobility, and help with daily living.
  • Medications ASD is not treatable with medication. Depending on the severity of their symptoms, they may be prescribed certain medications like antipsychotic drugs or antidepressants .

How to manage Autism Types

The severity of the symptoms and type of autism will determine how to manage it. Mild autism spectrum disorders, such as level 1, can be managed with behavior modification and social training. However, individuals with Rett syndrome will require more extensive support such as physical or occupational therapy.

Autism can require behavior modification or other support. It may be necessary to modify your child’s diet in order to avoid artificial sugars, preservatives, gluten, or gluten. You can also add food coloring to certain foods to help your child improve their visual skills while they eat. Your doctor can help you determine the best treatment option for your child.

Many therapies and behavioral interventions are available to help autistic individuals overcome their challenges.

ASD therapy should be started as soon as possible by healthcare professionals after a child is diagnosed. Early intervention can help reduce their difficulties and allow them to adapt and develop new skills.

Management strategies for ASD could include .

  • Educational and developmental therapy
  • Behavioral therapy is a way to learn life skills and overcome challenges
  • Speech, language, occupational therapy for social, communication and language skills
  • Treatment for mental health problems such as anxiety, aggression, repetitive behaviour, hyperactivity, attention issues and depression.
  • Psychotherapy can be used to increase or enhance a person’s strengths
  • supplements or changes in diet

ASD is a spectrum disorder. This means that people can experience many of the same symptoms. Many children who are diagnosed with ASD live productive, independent and fulfilled lives.

Everything you need to know regarding Autism and the various types

ASD is a developmental disorder. ASD is the umbrella term that encompasses all four types of autism. ASD, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disorder and pervasive development disorder-not otherwise noted are the former types.

ASD can be described as a spectrum disorder. Doctors assign levels to each individual based on the extent of differences.

Although people at the extreme end of the spectrum might need assistance, most autistic people can lead productive, independent lives.

Research has shown that early intervention services can significantly improve the development of children. 3,4 It is crucial to get services as soon as you can.