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What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD (formerly known as Asperger Syndrome) is a neurobiological condition that affects how an individual processes information. It is not a mental disorder.

Individuals with ASD can exhibit a variety of characteristics that can range from mild to severe. Persons with ASD show marked deficiencies in social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness.

They often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest . They have a great deal of difficulty reading nonverbal cues (body language) and very often the individual with AS has difficulty determining proper body space.

Often overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights, the person with ASD may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights no one else seems to hear or see. It's important to remember that the person with ASD perceives the world very differently.

Therefore, many behaviors that seem odd or unusual are due to those neurological differences and not the result of intentional rudeness or bad behavior, and most certainly not the result of "improper parenting".

By definition, those with ASD have a normal to high IQ and many individuals (although not all), exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area.

Because of their high degree of functionality and their naiveity, those with AS are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying.

While language development seems, on the surface, normal, individuals with AS often have deficits in pragmatics and prosody. Vocabularies may be extraordinarily ric h and some children sound like "little professors." However, persons with ASD can be extremely literal and have difficulty using language in a social context.

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