Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder (a disorder of early brain development) that involves impairments in social communication and interaction, that begins in early childhood, and persists throughout life.
Overview and Symptoms
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships, have social difficulties and difficulties understanding the intentions and perspectives of others. Social interactions are often frustrating and confusing. The severity of this condition varies considerably.
Although often diagnosed in childhood, milder cases may not be diagnosed until the late teens or early adulthood.
Intervention involving behavioral and communication therapy during the preschool years, and into adulthood, can improve skills and functioning. Interventions can also include occupational therapy, speech therapy, and sensory integration techniques.
Treatment for secondary mental health problems (medication and psychotherapy) may also be important. Evaluation is critical, and neuropsychological assessment may be an important element in that process.