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Another account of early autism was 140 years prior to Kanner. In his book, Observations on Madness and Melancholy, published in 1809, John Haslam describes a seven year old boy who, among physical illness, was slow to talk and very late to walk, was restless in hospitals, inattentive but curious about his environment, was a solitary person and had many obsessive preoccupations (Wolff, 2003). Based on the information provided, it is likely that this child had one of the disorders included under the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. These accounts are only two of the many historical accounts of what is now recognized as autism. These cases are in the past and thus are only speculation, however based on what we now know, it is likely these hypothetical diagnoses are accurate. Although at the time these cases were not points for contention, autism has been a source of much argument and still is to this day.Classification of Autism It wasn’t until 24 years after Kanner first identified autism that it was officially categorized as a diagnosable disease. In 1967, autism was classified under schizophrenia in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (Erford, 2009). In 1980, after much debate, autism was finally categorized separately from schizophrenia as a developmental disorder in the Diagnositc and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the DSM-III (Erford, 2009). Finally, in 1994, Asperger’s was officially added to the DSM-IV as a progressive developmental disorder (Erford, 2009). Despite autism and Asperger’s eventual inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, they still provide contention today in terms of their source and treatment.
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER5SymptomsAs previously mentioned, there are four different disorders categorized under Autism Spectrum Disorder: classical autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) and Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified, which is also sometimes known as atypical autism (Volkmar et at, 2009). Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges (Volkmar et at, 2009). In the following discussions of these disorders, it is important to remember that they are all spectrum disorders. This means that the disorders and their symptoms range from mild to severe. The various disorders categorized as ASDs have similar symptoms but all people experience them with differing severity. AutismWhen people hear the term autism, they typically think of classical autism. Children with autism, and any other ASD, generally have problems in three areas: social interaction, language and behavior (Erford, 2009). Classical autism is marked by an impairment or complete inability to communicate or interact with others (Erford, 2009). When discussing symptoms, it is important to keep in mind that each person with this disorder will experience a unique pattern of the symptoms and is not required to have every symptom listed. Although there are many