Autism is the Most Common Neurological Disorder Affecting Children

Autism is the most common neurological disorder-affecting children; and is one of the
most common developmental disability affecting American and Canadian Children.
ASD changes the way the brain processes information that affects all areas of a person’s

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological disorder resulting in developmental disability;
this affects a person’s communication, social understanding and behavior including interests
and activities.

Autism usually appears around the first three years of a child’s life and boys are more prone to
autism than girls are. No one person with ASD behave or responds exactly the same way as
others with the same diagnosis everyone is unique.

There are actually five different Autism Spectrum Disorders described under a diagnostic
category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders [PDD].

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder [CDD]:

This is a rare condition that affects 0.2 in 10,000, symptoms are significant losses in social
behavior, language, and play. These symptoms usually appear after at least three years of a
normal developmental period. This disorder results in severe defects in cognitive ability.

Rett Syndrome:

This rare condition affects 1 in 10,000 and affects girls inclusively. Again,
significant regression after a period of normal development. Severe impaired language and
psychotic motor skills and difficulty cognitive ability.

Autistic Disorder [AD]:

This condition is diagnosed more often and affects 20 in 10,000 cognitive impairments, deficits
in non-verbal and verbal communications and social understanding, unusual behavior and
restrictive activities.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder – not already specified [PDD.NOS]:

This condition is often used in 15 in 10,000 diagnosed; this is also named a typical Autism.
This condition is severe and pervasive impairment that can be found in some interaction or
restrictive activities and interests.

Asperger Disorder – also called Asperger’s Syndrome, and Asperger Syndrome, AS.
This is a common disorder and is diagnosed five in 10,000. This condition can have mild to
severe impairments along with social understanding, interactions, and repetitive, restricted
interests and activates. Cognitive and language development is not delayed; however, there
are deficits in communications.

Early Signs of Autism: (12 to 24 Months) – children may demonstrate only a few of these
• May appear deaf because they respond unevenly or not at all to sounds.
• “Failure to Bond” (i.e. child is indifferent to parents’ presence)
• Does not “Point and Look
• Chronic gastrointestinal problems
• Self restricted/selected diet
• repeated infections
• Reaction to vaccines
• Difficulty consoling during transitions (tantrums)
• Often begins to develop language then loses it or doesn’t acquire language.
• Difficulty sleeping / wakes at night.
• Limited imaginative play
• Not interested in playing with other children

Many paediatricians and other physicians are not experienced in diagnosing Autism Spectrum
Disorder (ASD) and the physicians fear making the diagnosis because they were trained to
believe that ASD is incurable. Do not accept your doctor’s advice if he or she proposes a “wait
and see” approach or promises that your child will “catch up”. If your child has normal
development and then regresses, you should seek help immediately. As a child’s brain
develops, it is pliable and there is a window of opportunity for recovery at a young age that
however does diminish, as the child gets older.

Autism Society of America
7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 300
Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3067
Phone: 301.657.0881 or 1.800.3AUTISM (1.800.328.8476),

Autism Society Canada
Box 22017, 1670 Heron Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1V 0C2
Tel: (613) 789-8943
Toll free: 1-866-476-8440
mailto:[email protected]

Written by Sylvia McGrath, 2008
**Please note: that this article is am information resource, this is not to be used for diagnosis. If you have any medical concerns or questions, please see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

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