Autism Is Classified As A Developmental Disorder

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According to Simmons et al. (2009), autism is classified as a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction, social communication, and an unusually restricted range of behaviors and interests. Along with behavioral and social impairments, a diagnosis of autism also requires a clinically significant delay in language development before the age of three. Asperger Syndrome has similar signs and symptoms to autism without the language delay. Together with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), these disorders form the category of Autism Spectrum Disorders (Simmons et al., 2009). Because the signs and symptoms of ASDs are almost entirely behavioral, a variety of tests, interviews, and direct or indirect observations are used in different combinations based on age and/or language level to receive the most reliable diagnosis. Although there is controversy regarding the increased prevalence of ASDs, it is obvious that there is higher regard for understanding the nature of these disorders, causing an increase of research related to this field of study. It is to be noted, however, that there are a handful of general issues to be addressed when running experiments with afflicted individuals. These issues include: which part of the autism spectrum to target, how to convey instructions and maintain attention in severely affected individuals, difficulty recruiting volunteers due to social reticence, and a change of
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