Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Autism is a developmental disability that can cause a complex range of behavioural symptoms and may be mild, moderate or severe.

Autism is a developmental disability that can cause a complex range of behavioural symptoms and may be mild, moderate or severe.
beginning of content

Types of autism

1-minute read

Autistic disorders occur in a spectrum, ranging from mild and moderate to severe and with a variety of different symptoms. Mental health professionals classify autism into several types. This helps to assess the severity of a child's impairment and determines the best treatment to help the child develop the necessary skills for good functioning throughout life.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term that includes all the different types of disorder. However, often ASD is simply referred to as 'autism'.

Since 2013, we don’t talk any more about types of autism like Asperger's Syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder — not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Autism is now ranked as level 1, 2 or 3, depending on how severe it is and how much support the person needs.

Asperger’s syndrome is now considered to be part of the autism spectrum, rather than having its own separate diagnosis.

All types of autism impact on a child's behavior and ability to communicate. It's important to seek help if you are concerned your child has autism. Early intervention offers the best outcomes, no matter what type of autism a child has.

Last reviewed: September 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Caring for a child with Asperger's syndrome

Caring for a child with Asperger's syndrome - find out what to do if your child is diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and where to get further information and financial assistance.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD; Asperger's) information | myVMC

Autism or autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder affecting the brain and impairing communication, social interaction and creative play.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Autism spectrum disorders (including Aspergers syndrome)

Mothers share their experiences raising sons with high functioning autism spectrum disorders, and discuss the signs of autism in their children.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Autism spectrum disorder information on video | myVMC

Autism spectrum disorder, including Asperger's syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder, is characterised by behavioural and social difficulties.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Autism spectrum disorder and adults - Better Health Channel

A person with Asperger syndrome often has trouble understanding the emotions of other people.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Autism: Making sense of language - Autism Awareness Australia

With so many words and labels associated with autism, it can be hard to know what language to use when describing an individual who is on the spectrum.

Read more on Autism Awareness Australia website

Understanding autism - Autism Awareness Australia

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects how people communicate and interact with others. The term "spectrum" is used to emphasise that autism presents differently in every single person.

Read more on Autism Awareness Australia website

Girls and Autism - Autism Awareness Australia

Girls with autism can and often do present quite differently to boys, which can make getting a proper diagnosis frustrating. Here are some signs that are quite common in girls with autism.

Read more on Autism Awareness Australia website

Signs of autism - Autism Awareness Australia

Autism can be diagnosed at any age. So here's a list of typical signs of autism for toddlers, preschoolers, school children and adults.

Read more on Autism Awareness Australia website

Early signs of autism in toddlers - Autism Awareness Australia

Spotting the early signs of autism in toddlers can be hard if youre not an autism expert. Many of these signs are common to all young children but they are seen more often in children who have autism.

Read more on Autism Awareness Australia website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo