Autism spectrum disorder
Understanding autism and autism spectrum disorder poses distinctive challenges. Autism spectrum disorder refers to conditions characterised by deficits in communication, social interaction and rigidity in certain behaviours. The DSM-5 specifies diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder. It involves 'persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction' which occur in many contexts. Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder also have 'intellectual impairment and/or language impairment'. Adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder are prone to anxiety and depression. Curriculum-based assessments are interpreted with care, drawing on professional knowledge and understanding of autism spectrum disorder. This is because apparently correct student responses may not always reflect real knowledge. In applying approaches to students with autism spectrum disorder, an important development was recognising that problem behaviour could be communicating something. Pivotal response training aims to improve the social-emotional and communicative behaviour of children with autism aged about 3 to 10 years old.