chapter  26
10 Pages

The autism spectrum

ByAlexandra Fortuna, Patricia Davis

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a class of neurodevelopmental disorders defined by qualitative impairments in social functioning and communication, accompanied by repetitive behaviours and restrictive interests. As early as 30 years ago, autism was considered a rare childhood disorder. Today, autism is considered one of the most common disorders worldwide (Bauman 2010). Current statistics report that ASDs affect as many as 1 in 88 children, with the condition predominantly affecting males, as it is diagnosed approximately four times more often in males than in females (Center for Disease Control (CDC) 2010).