Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism is a neurological disorder that affects the ability of an individual to communicate, form relationships, and respond to the surrounding environment. Autism was first identified in 1943 by Leo Kanner. Kanner described a group of young children in his care who shared certain behaviors very different from typical children. He described the children as isolated and aloof, with odd language patterns, engaging in seemingly meaningless repetitive behavior, and maintaining a strong desire for sameness in their environment.

Today, clinicians and physicians rely on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition; DSM-IV) when diagnosing students with autism. The DSM-IV identifies three essential areas of disturbance that lead to a diagnosis of autism: (1) disturbances in social interaction, (2) disturbances in ...

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