Autism Spectrum Disorder: Social Factors

Social difficulties are one of the primary characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, defines ASD as a neurodevelopmental disability characterized by (a) persistent difficulties in social communication and social interaction and (b) restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities, with symptoms present in the early developmental period. Of particular note are the social impairments pathognomonic to the disability, as they can be evident early in life and lead to developmental difficulties that may interfere with an individual’s social communication, friendships, and relationships across the lifespan. Individuals on the spectrum may display these difficulties in infancy and toddler years in the form of diminished social attention, social smiling, and communicative development. Symptoms may later ...

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