Autism rates are steadily on the rise. The CDC released their 2020 report stating that in 1 in 54 American 8 year-olds have been diagnosed with
The original four main types of
- Classic Autistic Disorder
- Asperger’s Syndrome
- Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder (not otherwise specified)
With so much discussion about
Understanding the Four Main Types Of
Autism and Their Levels
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complicated developmental disability. It is critical that if your child shows signs of
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the official diagnosis for children and adults that suffer from a range of symptoms and classifications. When diagnosed with ASD, a child will receive their diagnosis and a level.
The levels refer to the type as well as the amount of support the child will need. There are three levels used to classify a child’s
- Level 1: Requires support – These children may have difficulty in social situations and experience trouble with initiating social interactions. Their independence can be reduced due to their inability to organize and plan.
- Level 2: Requiring substantial support – These children practice repetitive behaviors and are limit their social interaction to a few, very specific interests.
- Level 3: Requiring very substantial support – These children have severe speech and delays and may be non-verbal. They exhibit distress and difficulty in changing focus or activities.
However, the original 4 classifications are still used as terminology and by doctors when explaining the diagnosis to parents. That is why it is helpful to understand what they are and what they mean.
For many years, Rett Syndrome was considered to be a form of
Classic Autistic Disorder
Sometimes known as Kanner’s Syndrome, Classic Autistic Disorder generally refers to what most people think of when they think of
These children experience the symptoms of
Classic Autistic Disorder is also commonly referred to as “severe
Sometimes referred to as “high-functioning,” children with Asperger’s Syndrome generally show high levels of intellect and are capable of tending to traditional daily tasks and activities. Speech and language delays are uncommon, and in fact, children with the syndrome may talk at great length about a topic that interests them.
These abilities are what separate Asperger’s patients from the other known classifications of
The most common challenges for those with ASD that fall under what used to be called Asperger’s Syndrome are:
- Hypersensitivities (to lights, sounds, tastes, etc.)
- Difficulty with the give and take of conversation
- Difficulty with nonverbal conversation skills (distance, loudness, tone, etc.)
- Uncoordinated movements, or clumsiness
- Anxiety and depression
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)
Sometimes called Heller’s Syndrome, CDD is a rare form of
“CDD can be particularly tough and confusing for parents because one day, your child is showing no signs of developmental delays, and suddenly they stop talking and interacting.” (From: www.communitycare.com)
Children with CDD are severely impaired in almost every aspect, including language, social, emotional, and behavioral. These children would be a Level 3 in an ASD diagnosis, and CDD is considered one of many Persuasive Developmental Disorders included under the umbrella of
Pervasive Developmental Disorder: Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
While this diagnosis sounds complicated, children diagnosed with PDD-NOS tend to experience a mild range of
This diagnosis is used broadly to describe a series of disorders that now all fall under the ASD umbrella. PDD-NOS “refers to a group of disorders characterized by impairment in the development of social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, imaginative activity, and a limited number of interests and activities that tend to be repetitive.” (Source: childdevelopment.com).
Every Child’s Case Of
Autism Is Unique
However, ASD and its levels or degrees of severity allow for more inclusivity to all children experiencing their distinctive set of challenges, strengths, and symptoms.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a diagnosis that includes a wide range of developmental delays or impairments and can only be given after a complete and thorough assessment and evaluation by the appropriate professionals.
Most children will show signs and symptoms of being on the spectrum by ages 2 or 3 years old. Early intervention is the best course of action to guarantee as much success as possible for treatment options.
If your child get an
These services often include:
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Social skills therapy
It is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to
If you are the parent of a child with