Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults


 ICD-10 Code: F84.0

The essential features of autism spectrum disorder are persistent impairment in reciprocal social communication and social interaction, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. These symptoms are present from early childhood and limit or impair everyday functioning. The stage at which functional impairment becomes obvious will vary according to characteristics of the child and his or her environment. 

Manifestations of the social and communication impairments and restricted/repetitive behaviors that define the disorder are clear in the developmental period. In later life, intervention or compensation, as well as current supports, may mask these difficulties in at least some contexts. Manifestations of the disorder also vary greatly depending on the severity of the autistic condition, developmental level, and chronological age; hence the term spectrum. Autism spectrum disorder encompasses disorders previously referred to as early infantile autism, childhood autism, Kanner’s autism, high-functioning autism, atypical autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, childhood disintegrative disorder, and Asperger’s disorder.

What is autism spectrum disorder?

In recent years, reported frequencies for autism spectrum disorder across U.S. and non-U.S. countries have approached 1% of the population, with similar estimates in adult samples. It remains unclear whether higher rates reflect an expansion of the diagnostic criteria to include sub-threshold cases, increased awareness, differences in study methodology, or a true increase in the frequency of autism spectrum disorder.

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Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

Symptoms are typically recognized during the second year of life (12-24 months of age) but may be seen earlier than 12 months if developmental delays are severe, or noted later than 24 months if symptoms are more subtle.

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How is autism spectrum disorder treated?

The core deficits and behaviors associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder are treatable.  There is however, no cure for the disorder.  Published treatment guidelines for Autism Spectrum Disorder include those from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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