Autism Spectrum Disorder


Autism spectrum disorder, ASD is a common name for several
developmental disorder characterized by WHO through these criterias:

  • impaired social interaction
  • impaired communication skills
  • restricted and stereotypical behaviour or interests

These criterias are based on the fact that the individuals with autism have a form of developmental impairment in these three areas. The impairment affects the brain due to either genetic or developmental causes during pregnancy or after birth.

ASD is also associated with other diseases, comorbodities - epilepsy, mental retardation, Tourettes and ADHD are just a few to be mentioned.



The sprectrum of ASD

Infantile autism - is diagnosed by the fact that all three criterias are fulfilled within the age of three. 50-75% are mentally retarded.

Atypical autism - shows only two of the criteria and appears after the age of three.

Retts syndrome - is rare and affects mostly girls. The disorder appears between the ages of 12 and 18 months. The symptoms are slowed growth, no language skills, problems with hand movement, -muscles and coordination, -and with breathing.

Asperger´s syndrome - individuals with aspergers have normal mental growth, but problems with social interaction as well as having restricted and stereotypical behavior or interests. Many are also troubled with comorbities such as ADHD, OCD and depression.

Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) - is used to diagnose children who don´t show all the typical signs of autism, or if the impairment doesn´t show before the age of six. Often, the diagnosis is temporary until the final diagnosis is made.

Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS): When the diagnosis of PDD is excluded, but the individual has impairment regulating emotions, differ between fantasy and reality, and absent social interest. Some can also have ADHD and OCD.






Behavioral patterns in chidlren with ASD







  • Bonds with certain objects which gives them the feeling of safety. The object is often used in a strange way.
  • Smiles or laughs unreasonably.
  • Agressive or self-harming due to fear, and happens often when a daily rutine is broken or changed.
  • Imganiation is limited and things are perceived literally.
  • Has a hard time interpreting others actions during social interaction.
  • Decreased respons to other people in social situations.
  • The sensory perception is increased compared to the normal population. Can be very sensitive to sound or touch to the degree it can be perceived as painful.
  • Reserved or uncritical behavior towards others.
  • Repellent or demanding wish for body conatct. In case of rejection it might be due to painful sensation in touch, if demanding - it could be due to lack of understanding during social interaction.
  • Avoids eyecontact due to difficulties with eyecontact, mimickry or gestures. They find it torublesome to sort the amount of impressions.
  • Resists demands due to difficulties understanding from the surrounding's signals.
  • Has special interests (music, memory skills etc) which is most often seen in Asperger's.
  • If impairment in communication, the individual may present with violent behavior when in need to make a statement.


If an individual has ASD

There is no definitive treatment for ASD. However, pedagocial treatment can bed customized for their needs, assumptions and abilities no matter the age. The earlier the pedagogical treamtent is initiated, the better effect it has on the individual's development.

Individuals with ASD need special care and attention as they do not always exhibit the ability to express themselves. Because the ASD contains a group of disorders that have different grades of disability. Measurements to these disabilities must be taken by the community. The situation is difficult both for all parts involved. The community need to cooperate as friends, family, teachers, physicians etc to make it easier for individuals with autism to get through their everyday.


Hope your understanding of autism is more widened now,

Best regards,







Udgivet af Landsforeningen Autisme (ansvarshavende Morten Carlsson)

En række medlemmer af Landsforeningen Autisme, redigeret af journalist Eva Isager

Oplag: 3.500 stk. – Revideret udgave april 2012

WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

Meeting report: autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disorders: from raising awareness to building capacity.

1.Austistic disorder. 2.Asperger syndrome. 3.Child development disorders, Pervasive. 4.Developmental disabilities. 5.Capacity building. I.World Health Organization.

ISBN 978 92 4 150661 8 (NLM classi cation: WS 350.8.P4)

Zhang, Y. Neurology, 2008. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "Rett Syndrome Fact Sheet."Psychiatric Clinics of North America: “The autism spectrum: subgroups, boundaries, and treatment.”National Institute of Mental Health: "Autism Spectrum Disorders."Mayo Clinic: “Rett Syndrome.”© 2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Wikipedia (last edited on 22 May 2017, at 18:29) Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Retrieved from

Wikipedia (last edited on 18 May 2017, at 17:34) Pervasive developmental disorder. Retrieved from