What is autism

Autism is a set of neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by social interaction and communication difficulties, aswell as unusually narrow, repetitive interests (American Psychiatric Association 1994). Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) comprise at least four subgroups: high-, medium-, and lowfunctioning autism (Kanner 1943) and Asperger syndrome (AS) (Asperger 1991; Frith 1991). Individuals with AS have average or above average IQ and no language delay. In the other three autism subgroups there is invariably some degree of language delay, and the level of functioning is indexed by overall IQ. Individuals diagnosed on the autistic spectrum often exhibit a “triad of strengths”: good attention to detail, deep, narrow interest, and islets of ability (Baron-Cohen 2004).

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