What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

According to the DSM-5, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is manifested by persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history:

  • deficits in social/emotional reciprocity,
  • deficits in nonverbal communication behaviors,
  • and deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships.  

This may include failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; abnormalities in eye contact and body language, a lack of facial expressiveness, an absence of interest in peers, difficulty in sharing imaginative play or in making friends, and difficulty adjusting ones’ behavior to suite various social contexts. 


 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is also manifested by restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following: 

  • stereotyped or repetitive motor movements,
  • use of objects, or speech,
  • insistence on sameness, highly restricted,
  • fixated interests, and;
  • hyper or hypo-reactivity to sensory input. 

A typical autism assessment includes a measure of the following:

  •  intellectual ability (WPPSI-IV, WISC-V, WAIS-IV)
  • achievement (WIAT-III)
  • adaptive functioning (ABAS-3)
  • social and emotional functioning (BASC-3, PAI)
  • attention and concentration (if needed)  – BASC-3, Conners 3rd , CAARS, CPT, CATA, IVA-AE2
  • executive functioning  – BRIEF 

For additional resources about autism in Calgary visit: The Ability Hub

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