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Autism is a disorder that occurs during the social, communication and language neurodevelopment skills and symbolization skills and flexibility.

Currently there is some confusion about the different terms used to refer to this set of psychological and behavioral disorders. It can be referred as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), which owes their name to the statistical manual where all psychological disorders, the DSM-IV-TR are collected.

According to this manual, Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) are ""serious and widespread disruption of several areas development. Social interaction skills, communication skills, behaviors, stereotyped interests and activities Qualitative changes (…) are clearly inappropriate of the development level or mental age."" (DSM-IV-TR)


There is a clear idea than autism must be understood as a continuum of possibilities, such as a spectrum in which the presentations are highly heterogeneous, which implies that it is clearer than individuals with the same diagnosis may vary greatly in their external characteristics (depending on the affectation level of social components, communicative language development, flexibility and symbolization, the presence and degree of cognitive impairment, etc.).

In fact, in this sense, the next diagnose manual (DSM-V) will include the concept AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER, instead of the current (Pervasive Developmental Disorder).

The distinctive feature of autism is social interaction impairment.

Child’s primary caregivers are usually the first to notice the signs. Since infancy, a baby with autism may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on an object to exclude other for long periods of time.

It might seem that a child with autism develop normally and then withdraw and become indifferent to social activity.

Children with autism may not respond to their names and often tend to avoid eye contact with other people. They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they cannot understand social cues, such as voice tone or facial expressions, and do not observe the people faces to see appropriate behaviour patterns.

They lack empathy.

Many children with autism engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behaviours such as biting or head banging. They also tend to talk later than other children and may refer to themselves by name instead of "I" or "me". Children with autism unknown how to play interactively with other children. They speak with singing voices on a narrow range of favourite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person who is talking


There are no guidelines for preventing autism because the cause is unknown.

Most autistic children who receive a diagnosis before 24 months of age show a significant improvement in their behaviour. In other words, an autistic child who receives a good treatment for childhood autism, learn to live in society and communicate naturally. In fact, a high percentage of autistic children end up developing a normal social behaviour.

Gene or region studied

  • 5p15.31
  • ITGA4
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