Are There Types of Autism?

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Autism is a type of developmental disorder that leads to difficulties with social interaction and communication. With at least 1 in every 59 people having some form of autism, understanding the different types may be difficult for parents who are looking for information about their child’s diagnosis.

Autism is a term that is used to describe a group of disorders. There are different types of autism, including Asperger’s syndrome and Rett syndrome. Read more in detail here: autism symptoms.


Autism diagnoses are now not divided into distinct forms of autism, despite the fact that this was not the case previous to 2013.

Autism spectrum disorder is now a blanket diagnosis that covers a wide range of symptoms that were formerly classified as different diagnoses or forms of autism. However, other doctors feel that in order to give better treatments to individuals who need them, there should be distinct diagnoses for more severe forms of autism.

How do doctors now describe autism?

When assigning patients into diagnostic categories, doctors utilize the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The world of autism has altered drastically by the time the fifth edition was published in 2013.

Autism was once classified as a kind of pervasive developmental disability. The following conditions were listed in this category:

Experts indicate that the boundaries between these circumstances were permeable. Someone who goes to one doctor may be diagnosed with autism. A another doctor may diagnose that same individual with PDD-NOS the following day.

Diagnoses that are unclear result in muddled therapies and strained families. They have no idea which label is correct, and they have no idea who to believe. 

These diseases were merged into one label in the DSM-5: autism spectrum disorder. That terminology captures the numerous similarities that these illnesses share. The term “spectrum” refers to the fact that persons exhibit a wide range of features, with some having more (or less) disability than others.

When addressing patients, doctors will use the term autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Despite this, the Autism Society reports that families may mention Asperger’s syndrome or PDD-NOS in casual conversation. These words are still often used.

The Accepted Term for Autism Spectrum Disorder 

People with autism symptoms are referred to as having autism spectrum disorder. This single phrase spans a wide range of persons, behaviors, and impairment degrees. 

According to Autism Speaks, no one knows for sure what causes ASD. A mix of heredity and environment is most likely to blame. Researchers are also unsure why some individuals live with modest impairment while others need round-the-clock care and assistance.

This is why tailored treatment plans are critical. When it comes to autism treatment, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Years of observation have shown common autism indications and symptoms, such as alterations in the following areas:

  • Even from individuals they know and trust, some autistic persons loathe being hugged, held, caressed, or squeezed.

  • Loud sounds, strong odors, or high amounts of visual stimulation might overwhelm some persons with autism.

  • Restricted and repetitive actions: People with autism have a tendency to repeat activities that others may find ineffective.

ASD is a spectrum disorder. Some individuals seem to be severely impacted by the diagnosis, while others appear to be just mildly affected. ASD is classified into three severity categories by the DSM:

  • Level 1, needs assistance: This person has difficulty beginning conversations and exhibits a lack of interest in relationships. Their rigidity makes it difficult for them to carry out daily tasks.

  • Level 2, which requires a lot of help: People at this level struggle with both verbal and nonverbal communication. They don’t have a lot of social skills. Casual onlookers may see their inflexibility.

  • Level 3, which requires a lot of help: At this level, a person’s communication skills, both verbal and nonverbal, are severely limited. They have a lot of trouble functioning.

Doctors cannot diagnose ASD or put persons on the spectrum using laboratory testing or physical examinations. Experts instead utilize observation skills and question-and-answer examinations to figure out how their patients work. 

Researchers stress that diagnosis is critical, particularly at a young age. Children identified with autism before the age of four are more likely to get appropriate therapy. Children who are identified later in life are more likely to receive ineffective treatments, including medication. 

Autism tests should be done on children as early as two years old as part of normal medical visits. Autism screenings are also offered in certain school systems. If their child’s growth seems to be delayed or they notice the autistic signs listed above, parents might request specific testing. 

A Push for Type Classification

While the transition to a single diagnosis for all forms of autism was meant to reduce obstacles and enhance services, some professionals believe it has had the opposite effect.

The Lancet Commission issued a report in December 2021 recommending improvements to enhance autistic people’s quality of life. They suggested, among other things, the introduction of a new diagnostic category for those on the autism spectrum who are severely disabled. Those with a major intellectual handicap (classified as an IQ below 50), who are primarily or entirely nonverbal, and who need extensive support and supervision fall into this category.

This new category should be called profound autism, according to the panel. The needs of an underrepresented group might be addressed and better fulfilled as a result of its formation.

This category will take into account the fact that persons with autism may have a wide range of demands. The differentiation might help researchers create novel therapies and educate people about autism’s characteristics.

It would have to be included in the DSM or the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases to be formally classified as a new diagnostic category (ICD).

Types of Autism Described by Outdated Terms 

These terms will not be used by your doctor to define ASD. However, knowing these phrases might help you better understand how a loved one thinks or what they need. 

Asperger’s Syndrome is a kind of autism.

People with this condition won’t see the term Asperger’s Syndrome is a kind of autism. or Asperger’s disorder on any formal paperwork. This is no longer a recognized diagnostic term. Instead, these people might be described as living on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. 

People with Asperger’s Syndrome is a kind of autism. have traditional autism difficulties. They struggle with relationships, communication, and order, just as everyone on the spectrum does. But they have behaviors that set them apart. 

According to the Autism Society, speech difficulties are a common symptom of classic ASD. Autism may cause children to not talk at all or to speak later than their classmates. Children with Asperger’s syndrome often have excellent language abilities, however they may also:

  • Have peculiar vocal patterns.

  • Talk with a monotonous tone of voice.

  • Talking excessively loudly or at an odd pitch is not a good idea.

  • As they may not grasp give and take, dominate a discussion.

The majority of persons with Asperger’s have normal to high IQ, as determined by standard exams. They may flourish in traditional school or employment settings, and they may be able to operate effectively with little but consistent help from others.

Therapy may also assist people with Asperger’s improve their communication abilities. People with Asperger’s syndrome often want for personal connections, but their odd communication patterns may lead to labels like “strange” or “awkward,” which can be unpleasant and unproductive.

People may benefit from therapy to better understand how others want them to communicate. It may even aid persons with Asperger’s syndrome in expressing their ideas, emotions, and desires. Through dialogue, they may be able to have a better knowledge of one other, allowing them to create the relationships they want.

Disintegrative Disorder in Children

Most people with autism develop symptoms somewhat predictably. Children start talking later than their peers, and once problems appear, they don’t worsen or disappear. People with Disintegrative Disorder in Children (CDD) are different. 

Children with CDD have a severe type of autism known as low-functioning autism, but they don’t start out that way. Symptoms may not occur until a youngster reaches the age of ten. 

Children with CDD reach developmental milestones at a young age. They could:

They eventually lose their talents. Children seem to progress backwards through the stages in a matter of months, losing all of the talents they have acquired. Some children endure headaches, anxiety, and nervousness as part of a prodrome condition. 

Without treatment, these abilities cannot be restored, and most individuals with CDD will need assistance for the rest of their lives. They may not be able to succeed in autonomous environments even with counseling.

Not Otherwise Specified Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS)

Some individuals don’t easily fit into diagnostic boxes. Some symptoms may be present, while others do not. They may have some issues, but they don’t seem to be serious. People like these were formerly labeled PDD-NOS since they didn’t exactly fit into the predefined sorts of autism.

Atypical autism is a term used by experts to describe a condition in which persons have:

According to specialists, people with PDD-NOS exhibit mild types of autism. They may have some social or communication difficulties, but they also have a lot of skills. 

Some persons with PDD-NOS need assistance in order to live independently, find rewarding jobs, and form healthy relationships. Therapy may be really beneficial.

Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects children.

Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects children. is a rare genetic disorder primarily seen in girls. In many ways, it mimics the features of autism and CDD. These children might lose previously developed language and self-help skills, for example.

One of the main features of Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects children. is the loss of functional hand skills. These children tend to stop using their hands to do things. Instead, they spend a large amount of time clasping their hands or wringing their hands together.

Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects children. is also associated with the loss of motor development and low muscle tone. As a result, children with Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects children. often require lifelong assistance and ongoing therapy.

Autism Treatment for All Types 

Everyone with autism spectrum condition is unique, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all therapy that can benefit everyone in the same manner. The most effective therapies are personalized to the individual, and they assist persons with ASD in overcoming obstacles and developing abilities.

People with autism often benefit from behavioral or psychological treatment. Doctors send patients to specialists, who put up a treatment team that might include:

  • Parents

  • Siblings

  • Doctors

  • Technicians

The treatment program is created and administered by a mental health professional, and the rest of the team assists in reinforcing lessons in between meetings. When it comes to autism therapies, repetition and practice contribute to long-term results. This is made possible by families.

Although people’s core difficulties differ, many programs concentrate on the following aspects:

  • Therapy goals might include requesting a desired thing, describing emotions, or sketching out a strategy.

People with low-functioning autism may benefit substantially from therapy that help them master self-care chores such as brushing their teeth, taking care of their personal hygiene, or washing their hands. They may also exhibit problematic behaviors, such as aggressiveness, that need further care. 

The gold standard in autism treatment is applied behavior analysis (ABA). Therapists determine what clients are capable of and what they are unable to perform with ease, then isolate one or two activities for focused treatment. Then they break down the major jobs into smaller chunks and practice the techniques until they are second nature. 

Therapy is tough, and it may seem repetitious at times, but repetition is crucial. For those with autism, ABA treatment may be life-changing if it is delivered properly.

Autism was often thought to be incurable until researchers found ABA treatment. Experts now recognize that persons with ASD benefit from this form of intensive, concentrated intervention in order to help them develop abilities. People can improve with it.

There are certain limitations to autism treatment. Nonverbal people, for example, may never develop the capacity to talk. Some autistic persons may feel uneasy in social settings all of the time. Therapy does not heal the problem, but it may help the individual deal better with it by lowering symptoms and teaching coping strategies.

Therapy may assist persons with autism in communicating with others. They may utilize the care to explain their ideas and emotions to the individuals they care about. That might have a significant impact on everyone’s life.


There are four types of autism. These include autistic spectrum disorder, Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Reference: what are the 4 types of autism.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 different types of autism?

A: There is no such thing as a type of autism. The term has been used in science, but its not recognized by the diagnosing agencies.

How many kinds of autism are there?

A: There are two types of autism, Aspergers syndrome and high-functioning autism.

What are the 3 main types of autism?

A: The 3 main types of autism are Aspergers syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and autistic spectrum disorder. Each type is unique in terms of its symptoms and treatment options but all three share some common features such as social difficulties, communication problems, difficulty with transitions from one activity to the next, restricted interests or behaviors.

Related Tags

  • causes of autism
  • types of autism 2021
  • types of autism in adults
  • different types of autism in toddlers
  • high functioning autism

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