What is Autism

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a brain disorder affecting communication and social interactions. It occurs before three years of age. Signs of autism include: repetitive behaviors, impairments in verbal and non-verbal communication and difficulties with socialization.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a general term used to communicate an individual’s challenges. Persons functioning on the autism spectrum share similar features but their skills and deficits may vary widely. A person living on the autism spectrum will display varying degrees of challenges in the area of social functioning, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Until recently, subtypes of ASD were used to further communicate areas of functioning. These subtypes of Pervasive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger Syndrome, autistic disorder and childhood disintegrative disorder are not included in the DSM-5 and are no longer used in the classification of ASD.

Important Facts:

  • ASD can be detected as early as 12 months.
  • ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic and social groups
  • ASD is four times more likely to occur in males than in females

Autism is treatable.

  • Alabama’s Early Intervention Program is available for children under the age of three who meet eligibility requirements. Call 1-800-543-3098 for information.
  • Parents of children over three should contact the Office of Special Education at 1-800-392-8020 for available services.