What is Autism?

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what is autism?

Autism is a neurological developmental disorder that manifests in childhood and is characterized by difficulties in communication, social interaction, and repetitive or restrictive patterns of behavior. Although its origin is not fully understood, various authors have contributed to its description and understanding over the years. Autism is currently considered a spectrum, meaning it is not a single, homogeneous condition, but rather a set of characteristics that manifest differently in each individual. 

One of the most prominent figures in autism research is Leo Kanner, who first described this disorder as a separate clinical entity in 1943. Kanner observed that children with autism had difficulties in communication and social interaction, as well as repetitive and stereotyped behavior patterns. 

Leon Kanner
Leon Kanner

Hans Asperger, on the other hand, described in 1944 a type of autism characterized by difficulties in social interaction and communication but without significant delays in language or cognitive disabilities. This type of autism became known as Asperger’s syndrome. However, in the publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in 2013, this term was eliminated, and it was included within the autistic spectrum, which is now divided into three levels: autism level 1, autism level 2, and autism level 3. 

Hans Asperberg
Hans Asperberg

Autism level 1 refers to cases where individuals have social and communication difficulties as well as repetitive or restricted behaviors, but these difficulties are not severe enough to significantly interfere with their ability to function in daily life. Autism level 2 involves more severe difficulties in these areas, while autism level 3 refers to cases where individuals need constant support to perform everyday activities. 

Young boy with autism sitting on a chair in a classroom on a therapy

In summary, autism is a spectrum because it manifests in different ways in each individual and can occur at different levels of severity. Recognizing this diversity is essential to understand and support people with autism on their journey toward a fulfilling and satisfactory life. 

by divershines

by divershines

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