How are subtypes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) differentiated?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: James Robert Brasic, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Several instruments have been developed to diagnose autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Administering these tools in a reliable and valid manner requires extensive training and experience. Therefore, unless they have considerable experience with children with autism and understand the concepts implicit in the diagnostic criteria and rating scales, pediatricians and other clinicians are advised to refer patients with possible autism to experienced clinicians for definitive diagnostic evaluations.

Currently, children who display some features of autism are broadly categorized in the class of autism spectrum disorders. Experienced clinicians are able to identify particular deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder and institute effective treatments. Identification of the key dimensions characteristic of autism spectrum disorders may be a more accurate means of distinguishing subtypes of these conditions. [129]

The utilization of broader criteria for autism spectrum disorders will likely result in innovations in the identification of affected children. There will also likely be further developments in the institution of interventions for these conditions. [31]

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