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What Is the Autism Spectrum?

Learn about the autism spectrum from Dr. Kimberly Williams in this Howcast video.


So I know, sometimes, parents are confused because they'll hear many different terms, such as autism spectrum, spectrum disorders, PDD. What do all of these terms mean? Well what we should understand is the larger rubric, or the larger category, is that they are all a pervasive developmental disorder where there is a delay in a child's development. When we think about the spectrum, it's exactly what it means, is that there is a broad range of abilities and capabilities that children with autism have.

The spectrum can range from children who are completely non-verbal, who have extremely low IQ's and have extreme difficulty learning, all the way to the other end of the spectrum where children have excellent reading capabilities, they're conversational and they have friends, but they're still having some difficulties in a social capacity. So the range is quite broad. And so when you know one child with autism, you really only know one child with autism, because the spectrum of disorders, abilities and disabilities is so broad.

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