Autism Home > All About Autism Spectrum Disorders

Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and Asperger syndrome all belong to a group of developmental disorders known as autism spectrum disorders. According to current estimates, 1 out of every 500 children has an autism spectrum disorder. These disorders are characterized by:
 
  • Impairment in communication skills
  • Impairment in social interactions
  • Restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.
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Each of these symptoms can range from mild to severe. They will appear differently in each individual child. For instance, a child may have little trouble learning to read but exhibit extremely poor social interaction. Each child will display communication, social, and behavioral patterns that are individual but fit into the overall diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
 
Autism spectrum disorders are treated in many different ways, such as with medication. The earlier the disorder is diagnosed, the sooner the child can be helped.
 
(Click Autism Spectrum Disorders for more information about all the conditions that fall within the spectrum. This article also features information on how the conditions are diagnosed.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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