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, health professionals 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 behaviour 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.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: September 2018