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What is Autism and What are the Different Types?

Studies show that millions of people globally have autism- children, teenagers, and adults. Autism can be categorized as a variety of behaviors or complications, such as behavioral problems, speech difficulty, and challenges in social settings. While autism is not recognized as a learning disorder, it can cause difficulty in academics. It may surprise some to know that there are different types and levels of autism. While the exact cause is not definitely known, scientists believe autism may be caused by genetic variations and possibly some environmental factors. 

Here are the different types of autism a person may have: 


Asperger’s Syndrome 

It’s likely you’ve heard of this type of autism. However, it is no longer referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome but is now commonly known as Level 1 autism spectrum disorder. This type of autism affects the person’s ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others. For example, they may face challenges expressing their emotions, recognizing social cues, and focusing on new things. 


Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)

This type of autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is also commonly referred to as Heller’s Syndrome or Disintegrative Psychosis. This disorder is present in childhood and can cause issues with language, speech, motor skills, and social aspects. Almost all cases are present in boys and only very little in girls. Children who have this disorder will start to regress and will lose some of the knowledge and abilities they already have- such as words they have learned, motor skills, and any social skills they once had. 


Rett Syndrome 

This syndrome is rare and can be observed when the child is an infant. It mostly impacts girls but can still occur with boys. This type of autism can impact the child’s ability to move and engage in physical activity, as well as verbal communication. Treatment plans are often available for this type of autism. 


Kanner’s Syndrome 

This type of autism is also called the Classic Autism Disorder. Children who have this syndrome will often appear or present themselves normally but have underlying symptoms. This can include difficulty learning, communicating, expressing emotion, and the need to handle objects. 


Pervasive Developmental Disorder or PDD-NOS Autism 

This is likely the mildest type of autism but can include a variety of symptoms. It often causes social and language issues. For example, a child with PDD-NOS may experience developmental delays in speech, language, and learning. They may also have challenges with moving physically and coordination.  


Although autism disorders may cause challenges for the individual with the disorder as well as the family, luckily there are treatment options to help improve the overall quality of life and health. For example, social training and development programs are often available, as well as special education programs in schools. Medications and even specific diets may also help to improve someone’s symptoms. Any medication or medical advice should always be taken by your primary care physician only. 


If you or someone you know have a form of autism and are looking for social support, check out today. 

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(2021, March 9). What Are the 5 Types of Autism? IntegrityInc. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from,developmental%20disorder%20%E2%80%93%20not%20otherwise%20specified.

NIH (2023). Autism. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from,autism%2C%20implying%20a%20genetic%20component.

Cunningham, B., EdM. (2023). Is autism a learning disability? Understood. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from

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