Note that this information is a short summation and that a nuanced description would fill a book - or several. Look to the resources page for suggestions.
Autism is classified in the diagnostic systems as a developmental disorder, marked by a number of symptoms or diagnostic criteria. The current understanding of ASD is that it may be expressed in vastly different ways in spite of underlying difficulties being quite similar. As such, it may seem counterintuitive that two very different people may have the same diagnosis.
Diagnostic classification systems such as the DSM-5 and ICD-10 do not make statements as to the cause of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which means that as it is, ASD is a description of a number of symptoms and behaviors in the diagnostic sense.
What follows is a combination of these, along with observations made by my professional colleagues, as well as personal experience. There is an emphasis on describing the characteristics of those with lower support needs, as those with higher support needs tend to be diagnosed earlier in childhood. However, I have attempted to make the descriptions inclusive.
Children with ASD may have these characteristics:
The advantages of a diagnosis can be:
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