As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks:-) You can read more about my affiliate disclosure policy here
The Five Types Of Autism Outlined
There are five Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) which, collectively, are often considered to be types of Autism but which are really distinct neurodevelopmental disorders which are each under the ‘Spectrum’ of Autism. These are Autism or Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS). These five disorders are classified as being pervasive, in contrast to Specific Developmental Disorders (SDDs), since they are characterized by a delay in the development of many basic human functions such as socialization and communication.
There follows a short introduction to the five main types of Disorder:
Autism, known as Classic Autism, Autistic Disorder, or Kanner’s Syndrome, was originally named and described by the Psychiatrist Leo Kanner from the John Hopkins University. His studies were based upon eleven of his child patients, during a period from 1932 to 1943, who had the common features of: lack of emotional contact with others, need for repetitive routines, speech abnormalities, a fascination with manipulating objects, learning difficulties accompanied by a high level of visio-spatial skills, the appearance of intelligence and alertness. These studies became the basis of all future understanding of this disorder.
Asperger’s Syndrome, or Disorder, is named after the studies of Hans Asperger, in Vienna, in 1944. While there are similarities with Autism in that sufferers have impaired socialization skills and desire repetitive patterns in their life; they don’t share the other learning disabilities in language and cognition. Often, those with Asperger’s will have an exceptional skill or talent which occupies them and many remarkable people, such as Einstein, have later been diagnosed with this disorder.
Rett’s Syndrome, or Disorder, was identified by Dr. Andreas Rett, in Australia in 1965. It is a neurodevelopmental degenerative disorder which only affects girls causing them to become disabled and dependent upon others with behavioral similarities to Autism, but with the addition of growth deformities such as muscle loss, and small hands and feet.
The disorder called Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD), or Heller’s Syndrome named after the Austrian teacher Theodore Heller who first described it in 1908, is characterized by a seeming regression of skills by children after the age of two or three. It is similar to Autism but, instead, follows a normal development and is characterized by loss of skills.
The term Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, or PDD-NOS is a ‘catchall’ term to refer to those who suffer disorders which aren’t specifically one or other of the four outlined above. Often this is a class of far milder symptoms, and types of autism, which tends to be emphasized by difficulties with socialization.
Personally, our son was first diagnosed with PDD-NOS in the early stages, around age 4 or 5, but after his most recent evaluation showed a clear diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD) with other underlying challenges such as sensory challenges, ADHD, and also socialization. There were a few more diagnoses under this umbrella of autism but it doesn’t make the challenge any easier. We continue to advocate and strive for the best, regarding what is needed to help our son navigate the many challenges of this world.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Mandu Usoro, US Army Veteran, Experienced Homeschooler, Parent Advocate and is the founder of Homeschool Special Needs Tidbits, a website/weblog about homeschooling, public school education, special needs children, personal bookstore, and articles about educating special needs children and the tools needed for success.