Doctors use diagnostic labels to describe different types of autism. These labels all say autism because they share two common traits—impaired social interaction and communication skills—but the use of a spectrum of disorders to analyze these conditions shows that that there's great variability among different types of people who have these common traits.
As you read the following descriptions of different autism spectrum disorders, keep a few things in mind:
- The diagnoses can overlap.
- Some people's diagnoses can change over time as their demonstrated abilities and behaviors change.
- Most importantly, there are a growing number of resources available to help parents understand more about autism and what to do when a child gets a diagnosis.