Issue #32: Autism Spectrum Disorders ( Pervasive Developmental Disorders)

The March issue of NASET's Educating Children with Severe Disabilities series will cover the following topic:

Autism Spectrum Disorder ( Pervasive Developmental Disorders)

Not until the middle of the twentieth century was there a name for a disorder that now appears to affect an estimated one of every five hundred children, a disorder that causes disruption in families and unfulfilled lives for many children. In 1943 Dr. Leo Kanner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital studied a group of 11 children and introduced the label early infantile autism into the English language. At the same time a German scientist, Dr. Hans Asperger, described a milder form of the disorder that became known as Asperger syndrome. Thus these two disorders were described and were listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR (fourth edition)1 as two of the five pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), more often referred to today as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). All these disorders are characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills, social interactions, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. However, with revisions published in DSM V, all these specific disorders were eliminated and just the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder remains.



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