Autism Is A Pervasive, Lifelong Neurodevelopmental Disorder

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Autism is a pervasive, lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder or disability that is behaviourally described. It is often presented early on in the individuals life and affects how they communicates with and relate to other people. The term Autism was first coined by doctor and Austrian American psychiatrist Leo Kanner in the 1940’s (Kanner, 1943). The naming of this disorder has changed many times over the years from Childhood Schizophrenia to Psychosis to Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which has led it to land on the current language; ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’. It is important to understand that we are labelling the individuals with Autism as such after looking at symptoms and trying to define them because it becomes necessary for diagnosis as well as to provide services. Autism was first included in the DSM-III 30 years ago which was when we first recognised Autism as a distinctive category. Since then it has undergone a series of changes, one of which is the revised DSM-III in 1987 that first provided the inclusion of pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. These continuous changes are normal and needed within the diagnostic criteria, and as research continues, it is likely that changes will occur in the future. The revised DSM-5 Criteria for Autism spectrum disorder defines and classifies the disorder not solely on the presence of impairments or deficits, but also by the severity to which these impairments are present (American Psychiatric

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