What is autism?

According to the DSM IV-TR, autism falls under the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD).  It is characterized by: severe deficits and pervasive change of several sectors of the development (capacity of mutual social interactions, communication) or by the presence of repetitive/restricted behavior, interests and activities (DSM-IV-TR, 2000).

For individualizes affected by autism it is observed , according to DSM-IV-TR, difficulties present in three domains:

1. Social Interactions:

  • Difficulties in non-verbal social behaviors (gaze, facial expressions, etc.)
  • Difficulties in developing relationships with peers
  • Lack of spontaneity and/or sharing
  • Does not share emotional or social reciprocity with others

2. Communication :

  • Delayed language development or lack of means for communication
  • Lack of communication and/or conversation with others
  • Stereotypical or repetitive language
  • Does not understand pretend or social imitative play

3. Restricted, repetitive and stereotypical patterns of behavior :

  • Restricted Interested
  • Ritualistic
  • Stereotypical and repetitive gestures

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

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