Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder, which has a broad variety of symptoms, which has allowed for the diagnosis of the disorder to have been on the rise for the past few decades. An estimated one in 100 Australians are suffering from some form of ASD, of those Australians, it is four times more common in males than females (autismspectrum.org.au, 2014). This piece of writing seeks to explore ASD in depth to place focus on this potential epidemic. Given that this is such a commonly experienced disorder, there has been countless peer-reviewed reports and journals covering this topic over the past 50 years, as such there has been much progression in the diagnosis of the disorder, yet there has been no definitive cause found. Therefore, this report places focus on the etiology of ASD to attempt to understand what causes this disorder, and as a means to evaluate current treatment based on what is found.
It is important to first note, that while Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has essential diagnostic features, there are varying manifestations of the disorder depending on the severity, and it should be reiterated that ASD is not a single condition but a spectrum of disorders. Nonetheless, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) states that Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a biologically based neurodevelopmental disorder, categorized by several essential diagnostic criteria.
The first diagnostic criterion listed within the DSM-5 (APA, 2013) is impairment in communicational and social aspects of interaction. This impairment may range from a complete lack of speech through language delays, poor comprehension of speech, or taking language overly literally. The second diagnostic criterion for ASD listed in the DSM-5 is associated with deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, which is described as an inability to communicate thoughts and feelings and empathize with others. This is characterized by a lack of social interaction and sharing of feelings and emotions. The third diagnostic criterion listed in the DSM-5 consists of restricted repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities. This criterion manifests in a variety of ways such as: repetitive motor patterns, the repetitive use of certain items and repetitive speech. The last essential criteria listed in the DSM-5, is that the aforementioned diagnostic criteria must cause clinically significant impairment in areas of current functioning, specifically these impairments must exceed the amount of difficultly experienced by others at the same developmental level.
Autism spectrum disorder is assessed through a series of different approaches, as a positive diagnosis can help guide those with autism to better understand and live with their disorder. Autism Spectrum Australia, Australia's leading service provider for autism (Austismspectrum.org.au, 2014), uses an approximately five hour...