Taking the Work Out of Blood Work: A Parent's Guide

Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders

What are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)?

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ASD are a group of developmental disabilities that affect the brain. They make communicating and interacting with others difficult.

Because ASD affect people differently, they are referred to as "spectrum disorders." They can range from mild to severe. Not everybody with ASD has the exact same symptoms or the same skills. All people with ASD are likely to experience challenges in three main areas:


People with ASD may have absent or limited speech. If they have speech, they may use it to recite or repeat words. They may have limited ability to use words to convey their wants or needs and limited ability to use them in conversation and social interaction.

Social Interactions.

Persons with ASD usually have trouble with social interactions. They may have difficulty understanding social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions. They may also have a difficult time maintaining eye contact.

Play and Routines.

Individuals with ASD are likely to engage in repetitive behaviors. Routines are also very important and may play a role in daily activities. Another characteristic of ASD is what some describe as "sensory overload." For these individuals, sounds seem louder, lights brighter, or smells stronger.