What Is An Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Dr. Alessandri answers the question: 'What Is An Autism Spectrum Disorder?'

ByABC News
October 15, 2008, 10:23 AM

Oct. 23, 2008 -- Question: What is an autism spectrum disorder?

Answer: An autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which essentially means that this is a biologically based condition that is affecting the developing brain. In the case of autism, the parts of the brain that are most affected seem to impact three areas of functioning: social behaviors, communication and restricted and repetitive rituals and routines, or ways that the child or the adult with autism interact with the environment.

Scientists and clinicians now understand that autism is not a singular entity, but, rather, a variety of syndromes that present to create the autism spectrum disorders.