Autism is a condition that still has many unanswered questions, but nowadays the medical term when it comes to it is “autism spectrum disorders.” This term appeared because the many symptoms and behaviors associated with people diagnosed with autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder.
Why the use of “spectrum”?
The symptoms and behaviors can develop at different pace and ages; however, there are some similarities among them. For that reason in 2013, with the publication of the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, all these disorders and conditions were put in one term, “autism spectrum disorders,” divided into three levels of diagnosis.
Inside the spectrum, people can be as different as their symptoms. We can find individuals that are highly intelligent and independent but have problems with social interactions, others that need therapy to be able to exchange even just a few words with strangers, and some that will always need assistance with daily routines.
People within the spectrum will always have problems with social interaction, making it a common symptom among them. But others symptoms and conditions can vary from person to person, hence the need to put them within a spectrum; that way we can identify them inside the condition and allowing them to be treated according to their unique attributes and requirements, without branding them in a specific condition or disorder.
For professionals in the area, a correct diagnosis on a child can take several years. This is because children can develop symptoms while growing up, hence the need to follow a constant observation of their behavior. But being within the spectrum opens an array of options: kids will have lives full of challenges to conquer that will need to be faced in very specific ways, with strategies according to their needs.
Now you have it! Being in the ASD means that every person diagnosed within it will face their own problems, but at the same time, it will be rewarded with the knowledge that they aren’t alone, that there are many with at least one symptom similar to them.
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