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Autism: Information, Facts and Research News

Autism Falls Under the Category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Updated/Revised Date: 2023/05/30
Author: Disabled World - Contact Details
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On This Page: Summary - Defining Autism - Main Article - About

Synopsis: Autism is a brain development disorder often characterized by impaired social interaction communication, and restricted repetitive behavior, among other factors. The number of people diagnosed with autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice and government-subsidized financial incentives for named diagnoses. Proposed causes, such as childhood vaccines, are controversial, and the vaccine hypotheses lack convincing scientific evidence.




Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a lifelong, nonprogressive neurological disorder typically appearing before the age of three years. The word "autism" means a developmental disability is significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction. People with ASD may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most others. Often, nothing about how they look sets them apart from other people. The classic form of autism involves a triad of impairments; in social interaction, communication, language use, and limited imagination as reflected in restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped behavior patterns and activities.

Main Document

Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication and restricted and repetitive behavior, starting before a child is three. This set of signs distinguishes autism from milder autism spectrum disorders (ASD) such as pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Autism falls under the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, which includes disorders like Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and then autism is then divided up into many subtypes including Asperger's Syndrome.

For reasons as yet unidentified, autism has become an epidemic in America over the last couple of decades. While considerable controversy surrounds the issue of why this condition is escalating so rapidly. Other proposed causes, such as childhood vaccines, are controversial, and the vaccine hypotheses lack convincing scientific evidence.

Autism Statistics

Autism prevalence studies data table from the ADDM Network for years 2000 to 2020 with combined data from all sites. The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is a program funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to collect data to better understand the number and characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities living in different areas of the United States.

Table Showing Yearly Identified Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the U.S.

Prevalence of Autism in the U.S. by Year
Survey Year Birth Year 1 in X Children
2020 2012 1 in 36
2018 2010 1 in 44
2016 2008 1 in 54
2014 2006 1 in 59
2012 2004 1 in 69
2010 2002 1 in 68
2008 2000 1 in 88
2006 1998 1 in 110
2004 1996 1 in 125
2002 1994 1 in 150
2000 1992 1 in 150

Autism and ADHD

Autism and ADHD could present with each other or with various other conditions - but they do not "typically" present together. Some autism symptoms could appear, like inattention. You should not easily confuse someone with ADHD with someone with autism, as their functioning and behavior are different. Autistic individuals display many forms of repetitive or restricted behavior, which the Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R) categorizes as follows:

No single repetitive behavior appears to be specific to autism, but only autism appears to have an elevated pattern of occurrence and severity of these behaviors. Early behavioral or cognitive intervention can help children gain self-care and social and communication skills. There is currently no known cure for autism.

Children and Adults with ASD May:

Common Autistic Traits

Behaviorally, certain characteristics identify the autism spectrum. The number of autistic traits determines the severity of autism in the individual. These autistic traits may benefit disciplines like science, mathematics, and engineering.

Social Impairment

Language Impairment

Imaginative Impairment and Repetitive Adherence

Sensory Integration Dysfunction

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