There are many different types of autism, including Asperger's syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder. Discover what the symptoms and behavior of various degrees of autism are with help from a practicing pediatrician in this free video on pediatrics and autism.
Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill and today we're going to be talking about different types of autism. The first thing to understand is that autism, now known as autism spectrum disorder because there are so very many different types, is not really one disease. It's a description of a type of behaviors and the one thing all these behaviors have in common is that they seem to involve a difficulty in a child relating to other people as humans. That extends to their understanding other peoples communications and emotions and being able to communicate their own emotions and ideas back outside to others. However, this set of symptoms, this description, really describes dozens if not hundreds of different medical conditions. Some are genetic conditions we've known about for a long time such as Fragile-X syndrome or Rhets, however at this point, up to forty percent of child who are sent to genetic evaluation for autism are diagnosed with a specific genetic disorder, and there's lots of different disorders out there. So remember that when you talk about autism, we're not talking about one disease or three diseases, we're talking about dozens or even hundreds of diseases that present with similar symptoms. Now, when we talk about types of autism, we do tend to lump them into three levels of severity. The least severe we call Asperger's syndrome. Asperger's involves children who do have some difficulty communicating with others, interpreting their intentions, and interpreting their emotions, but usually are able to function relatively well in a classroom or public environment. They tend to go on about subjects that interest them and have little interest in subjects that don't interest them. They may amass amazing stores of knowledge about those things that do interest them and be willing to share perhaps a little more than other people are wanting to hear. They may be awkward or have a difficult time getting jokes, but they're likely to be able to live on their own in the future and to provide self-care, hold down jobs relatively easily as long as they understand their own strengths and weaknesses. Now when we talk about plain ol' garden variety autism, we're really talking about those children in the middle. These children are pretty profoundly effected. They have very significant difficulty forming relationships, communicating with others and understand what others are trying to say to them. They may find sounds and other sorts of sensations, types of touch, smells, other sensations that really wouldn't bother people normally, terribly distressing and that may make it difficult for them to cope with the world and learn new things about the world around them as well. However, they're not the most severely effected of children on the autistic spectrum. Children with the most severe of the autism spectrum disorders we call pervasive developmental disorder patients. These children have a profound difficulty relating and communicating and their disease can often be mistaken for mental retardation because it is so difficult to know what they're thinking and what they're capable of. These children require relatively intensive therapy and may have a difficult or impossible time living outside a household or group home setting. Discussing the various types of autism, I'm Dr. David Hill.