Type 299.0 Autistic Disorder
Type 298.0 Asperger’s Syndrome
Type 298.0 Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication. Symptoms usually start before age three and can cause delays or problems in many different skills that develop from infancy to adulthood. Disorders included in the Autism Spectrum are Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Rett’s syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder are among the list of related disorders, but are not included in this spectrum. There are no treatments bio-medically, or behaviorally that can completely cure Autism Spectrum Disorders, however, certain medications along with abstract therapies can help eliminate some of the common symptoms. Many children can go on to live simple, and normal lives, however, some cases are so severe that they may be dependent on other people’s assistance into adulthood.
Description of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism comprises a clinically diverse group of disorders, referred to as “autism spectrum disorders”, that share common disabilities such as impaired social relationships, impaired language and communication, or a narrow range of interests. For most children with autism, symptoms develop gradually, although approximately 30% have a "regressive" onset, usually between 18 and 24 months. About 50%-70% of children with autism are identified as intellectually disabled and approximately 25% develop seizures. About 25% of children who fit the diagnostic criteria for ASD at age two to three years subsequently begin to talk and communicate, and by age six to seven years blend to varying degrees into the regular school population. They go on to live completely normal lives with no signs of a serious disorder. The remaining 75% have lifelong disability requiring intensive parental, school, and social support. (National Center of Biotechnology Information, 2010). People with Asperger’s syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability. People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger’s syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges. (National Center of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, 2012). Vikki Phelps, an intervention specialist at Olentangy Orange High school teaches many students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. “These students often have a difficult time expressing their emotions or basic needs. This becomes very irritating and frustrating for them,” Phelps said in our earlier interview. (V. Phelps, personal communication, May 2012). (See Appendix 1) Children and adults with ASD often display facial expressions, movements, and gestures that do not match what they are saying. Their tone of voice may not reflect their actual feelings either. Many older children with ASD speak with an unusual tone of voice.. Children with ASD also may have trouble understanding another person's point of view. For example, by school age, most children understand that other people have different information, feelings, and goals than they have. Children with ASD may lack this understanding, leaving them unable to predict or understand other people's actions. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2012).
To qualify for a diagnosis of autistic disorder, a child must have shown abnormalities in social interaction and language used for social communication. Children with ASD do not follow...