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Dr. Nancy J. Aguinaga
Autism Spectrum Disorder?
 What is your preconceived
notion or idea when you hear or
see the term autism?
 Preconceived feelings?
Autism Spectrum Disorder?
 The fastest growing diagnoses of
childhood (from ‘91 to ‘99-up 1108%)
Very complex, often baffling
developmental disability
First described by Leo Kanner in 1943
as early infantile autism
“Auto” – children are “locked within
For next 30 years, considered to be an
emotional disturbance
 Today, autism is a severe form of a broader group of
 These are referred to as pervasive developmental
 Typically appears during the first 3 years of life
 Expressed very differently – a wide range of abilities,
strengths and limitations.
 Neurological in origin – not emotional, not the
refrigerator mom
 Prevalence figures vary (1 in 166 in text)
 4 times more prevalent in boys
 No known racial, ethnic, or social boundaries
 No relation to family income, lifestyle
 Autism impacts normal development of the brain in
areas of social interaction and communication
skills and behavior.
 Difficult to communicate with others and relate to the
outside world.
 Occasionally, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior
may be present.
 May exhibit repeated body movements (hand
flapping, rocking).
 Unusual responses to people
 Attachment to objects
 Resistance to change in routine
 Sensory sensitivities
 Actually, the “umbrella” heading is Pervasive
Developmental Disorder (PDD).
 Autism is one of the 5 PDDs. For now – DSM IV
 All have commonalities in communication and social
 Differ in terms of severity
 Differ in IQ levels
 DSM 5 - ASD
1. Autistic Disorder
 Impairments in social interaction, communication,
and imaginative play.
 Apparent before age 3.
 Also includes stereotyped behaviors, interests, and
 Autism added to the DSM III in 1980
2. Asperger’s Disorder
 Impairments in social interactions, and presence of
restricted interests and activities
 No clinically significant general delay in language
 Average to above average intelligence
 Hans Asperger – a Vienese medical student– 1944 – his
work not translated into English until 1981 and entered
into the DSM IV in 1994
3. Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not
Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
 Often referred to as atypical autism
 Used when a child does not meet the criteria for a
specific diagnosis, but there is severe and pervasive
impairment in specified behaviors
 Entered into the DSM IV in 1987 revision
4. Rett’s Disorder
 Progressive disorder which, almost exclusively occurs
in females
 Period of normal development and then the loss of
previously acquired skills
 Also loss of purposeful use of hands, which is replaced
by repetitive hand movements
 Beginning at age of 1-2 years, typically in first 5 months
 Characterized by head growth deceleration and loss of
previously acquired skills between 5-48 months
 Entered into the DSM IV in 1994
5. Childhood Disintegrative
 Normal growth and development prior to manifesting
social interaction (generally the first 2 years)
 Then significant loss of previously acquired skills in at
least 2 of the following areas(language, social skills,
adaptive behavior, bowel or bladder control, play, or
motor skills) before the age of 10
 Entered into the DSM IV in 1994
IDEA- Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act
 Autism was not an official disability category under
federal education law until 1990
 Before this services were received under other
categories such as ID(MR), OHI , or BD
Conclusions on Types
 Autism is a spectrum disorder
 This means that symptoms and characteristics can
present themselves in wide variety of
combinations, from mild to severe
 Individuals with autism can be very different from
each other
 Kluth “2003” “If you know one person with autism,
you know ONE person with autism”
 “Autism” is still commonly used to refer to any of
the 5 PDDs
 Good agreement in general that autism is caused by
abnormalities in brain and central nervous system
development (typically result in over or under reactions to
various sensory stimuli)
May include chemical exposure, viral and genetic factors
Vaccines? – NO NO NO
Currently no medical test to confirm
A diagnosis is made by behavioral observations
Famous People with Autism
People on the spectrum have made some of the greatest
contributions to the world we know…
Dr. Temple Grandin