Autism Spectrum

Autism Spectrum in the spotlight

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is widely misunderstood as one disorder when it’s not a single type but comes with different variations. Understanding and identifying the different condition types of autism can be extremely rewarding as this is a one-world where we live supporting each other. Rather than keeping this in secret many high profile personalities come out with their condition from Elon Musk to Susan Boyle. Let us take a quick look at these conditions in brief.

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder ( ASD ) is a broad range of conditions identified by challenges of social skills, repetitive behaviour, speech as well as non-verbal communication. 

Autism is described as a spectrum disorder. Because of that, a person with autism can have some strengths as well as challenges. When it comes to learning, thinking and problem-solving functions, some people with autism can approach these with a high set of skills whereas some with autism can find these tasks highly challenging. Some autistic people might need a little or strong support for their daily activities whereas some people with autism live totally independently.

Autism is caused by a combination of genetic factors as well as environmental factors.


Different types of autism

There are five main types of autism.

Level one autism spectrum disorder (Asperger’s syndrome)

Level one autism spectrum disorder was previously known as Asperger’s syndrome. But after 2013, Medical professionals stopped using the term “ Asperger’s syndrome” and instead of that, the term “Level one autism spectrum disorder” was introduced.

A child with Level one ASD may have above-average intelligence and strong verbal skills but might find it’s difficult when social communication is considered.

Common symptoms with level one ASD

  • Inflexible thought process and behaviour
  • Monotone speech
  • Challenges in switching between activities
  • Challenges in interacting with peers


Rett syndrome

Rett syndrome is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect every aspect of a child’s life. This is a disorder that is common in girls.

Common symptoms with Rett syndrome

  • Difficulties in standard movements and coordination
  • Challenges of speech and communication 
  • Breathing issues 


Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is also known as Heller’s syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes development problems of language, motor skills and social activities.

A child may experience a normal development of these areas until the disorder hits the child between the age of 3-10 which is severely heartbreaking for parents.

Common symptoms of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

  • Losing any of the below skills/abilities
  • Toileting skills
  • Motor skills
  • Acquired vocabulary/ language
  • Social skills


Kanner’s syndrome

Kanner’s syndrome is also known as Classic autistic disorder. A child with Classic autistic disorder can be seen as attractive, alert and intelligent with the below characteristics.

  • Lack of emotional attachment with others
  • Challenges in communication
  • Uncontrolled speech
  • Obsession with handling objects
  • Excellent rote memory and Visuospatial ability with  learning difficulties in some other areas


Pervasive Development Disorder –  Not otherwise specified (PDD – NOS)

A mild type of autism and presents a large number of symptoms. The most common symptom is challenges of social and language development.

Understanding and getting educated yourself about the different variations of autism can immensely help you to have a better and more fulfilling relationship with the people who have autistic symptoms.

Rain Man (1988)

 The Accountant (2016)

Rain man (1988) and The Accountant (2016) are some wonderful movies that portrayed autism in such a way viewers can enjoy the movie while learning about the syndrome, simultaneously. We highly recommend you to go and watch these two movies to dig deeper into this disorder and understand our colleagues who were born with it.