Outline of autism

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to autism:

Autismdisorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

What type of thing is autism?[edit]

Autism can be described as all of the following:

  • Disability – may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.
    • Developmental disability – a term used in the United States and Canada to describe lifelong disabilities attributable to mental or physical impairments, manifested prior to age 18.
  • Disorder
    • Developmental disorder – occur at some stage in a child's development, often retarding the development.
    • Neurodevelopmental disorder – or disorder of neural development, is an impairment of the growth and development of the brain or central nervous system.

Conditions and research areas[edit]

  • Asperger syndrome – a mild autism spectrum disorder.
  • Autism – limited in focus, interest, or activity, such as preoccupation with a single television program, toy, or game.
  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – an instrument for diagnosing and assessing Autism.
  • Autism spectrum – a range of conditions classified as pervasive developmental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
  • Autism Spectrum Quotient – AQ, is a questionnaire published in 2001 by Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, UK.
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) –
  • Conditions comorbid to autism spectrum disorders – such as fragile X syndrome and epilepsy.
  • Developmental disability – lifelong disabilities attributable to mental or physical impairments, manifested prior to age 18.
  • Epidemiology of autism – the study of factors affecting autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
  • Epigenetics of autism – the study of epigenetic effects in ASD.
  • Fragile X syndrome (FXS) – Martin-Bell syndrome, or Escalante's syndrome (more commonly used in South American countries), is a genetic syndrome that is the most common known single-gene cause of autism and the most common inherited cause of mental retardation among boys.
  • Isodicentric 15
  • Language delay – a failure to develop language abilities on the usual developmental timetable.
  • Learning disability – a classification including several areas of functioning in which a person has difficulty learning in a typical manner, usually caused by an unknown factor or factors.
  • Mirror neuron – a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another.
  • Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) – as opposed to specific developmental disorders (SDD), refers to a group of five disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication.
  • PDD-NOS – (PDD-NOS) is a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), and is also considered one of the three autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
  • Rett syndrome – a neurodevelopmental disorder of the grey matter of the brain that almost exclusively affects females.
  • Spindle neuron – also called von Economo neurons (VENs), are a specific class of neurons that are characterized by a large spindle-shaped soma, gradually tapering into a single apical axon in one direction, with only a single dendrite facing opposite.
  • Weak central coherence theory (WCC) – also called the central coherence theory (CC), suggests that a specific perceptual-cognitive style, loosely described as a limited ability to understand context or to "see the big picture", underlies the central disturbance in autism and related autism spectrum disorders.


Controversies in autism

Psudoscience and disproven treatments[edit]

  • Autistic enterocolitis – other studies have explicitly refuted its existence.
  • Craniosacral therapy – (also called CST, also spelled Cranial Sacral bodywork or therapy) is an alternative medicine therapy used by physiotherapists, osteopaths, massage therapists, naturopaths, and chiropractors.
  • Chelation therapy – the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body. Not effective in autism.
  • Facilitated communication – a debunked technique which purports to allow non-verbal autistics to communicate.
  • Secretin – a hormone that controls the secretions into the duodenum, and also separately, water homeostasis throughout the body. Ineffective in autism.[1]
  • Vaccine controversy – a dispute over the morality, ethics, effectiveness, or safety of vaccinations

Notable autistic people[edit]

  • Temple Grandin – (born August 29, 1947) is an American doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior.
  • Donna Williams – (born 1963 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) is a best-selling author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter and sculptor diagnosed with autism after being assessed as a psychotic infant in 1965 at age two, tested multiple times for deafness and labeled disturbed throughout childhood, before treatment for gut, immune and sensory perceptual disorders in adulthood.

Politicians, philanthropists and leading activists[edit]

See also[edit]


Societal and cultural aspects of autism

  • Autism rights movement (ARM) – (also neurodiversity movement or anti-cure movement or autistic culture movement) is a social movement that encourages autistic people, their caregivers and society to adopt a position of neurodiversity, accepting autism as a variation in functioning rather than a mental disorder to be cured.
  • Autistic art – art created by autistic artists or art which captures or conveys a variety of autistic experiences or demeanor.
  • Global perceptions of autism − an overview of the diagnosis, treatment, and experience of autism in developing nations.
  • Neurodiversity – the standpoint that atypical neurological development is a normal human difference.
  • Neurotypical – (or NT) is a term that was coined in the autistic community as a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum: specifically, neurotypical people have neurological development and states that are consistent with what most people would perceive as normal, particularly with respect to their ability to process linguistic information and social cues.
  • Societal and cultural aspects of autism – come into play with recognition of autism, approaches to its support services and therapies, and how autism affects how we define personhood.


Organizations, stakeholder groups and events[edit]

  • 2000 Simpsonwood CDC conference – ) was a meeting convened in June 2000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), held at the Simpsonwood Methodist retreat and conference center in Norcross, Georgia.
  • Aspies For Freedom (AFF) – a solidarity and campaigning group which aims at raising public awareness of the autism rights movement.
  • Autism Awareness Campaign UK – The Autism Awareness Campaign UK were involved in the first United Nations World Autism Awareness Day, declared by the UN General Assembly on Wednesday 2 April 2008 on the recommendation of the State of Qatar.
  • Autism Network International – founded and run by autistic people. Parents and professionals are welcome but the focus is on living autistic rather than curing it.
  • Autism Resource Centre (Singapore)
  • Autism Society of America (ASA) – was founded in 1965 by Bernard Rimland, PhD, together with Ruth C.
  • Autism Speaks – the world's largest autism advocacy organization that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public.
  • Autism Sunday – also known as the International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger syndrome, is observed annually on the second Sunday of February.
  • Autistic Pride Day – a celebration of the neurodiversity of people on the autism spectrum on June 18 each year.
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network – a nonprofit advocacy organization run by and for individuals on the autism spectrum. ASAN holds that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which Autistic people enjoy the same access, rights, and opportunities as all other people, and that Autistic voices should be included in the national conversation about autism.
  • Autreat - founded by members of ANI, this is a yearly gathering for autistic people along with parents and professionals to meet and share ideas in an autism-friendly environment.
  • Children of the Stars
  • Center for Autism and Related Disorders
  • Generation Rescue – a nonprofit organization that advocates the view that autism and related disorders are primarily caused by environmental factors, particularly vaccines.
  • M.I.N.D. Institute
  • National Autistic Society (NAS) – a British charity for people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), including autism and Asperger Syndrome.
  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – a private non-profit 501(c)(3) advocacy group which questions the safety and efficacy of commonly used vaccines.
  • Sacar (charity)
  • Thoughtful House
  • TreeHouse – a United Kingdom charity working to improve the quality of life of children diagnosed with autism and their families, and to inform the general public about autism spectrum disorders.
  • Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System – a United States program for vaccine safety, co-managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Wrong Planet – (sometimes referred to by its URL, WrongPlanet.

Therapies, interventions, and potentially effective treatments[edit]

Autism therapies

Associated and possibly associated conditions[edit]

Conditions comorbid to autism spectrum disorders These are conditions that people on the autism spectrum may suffer from more often than is typical.

  • Alexithymia – a term coined by psychotherapist Peter Sifneos in 1973 to describe a state of deficiency in understanding, processing, or describing emotions.
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Clinical depression
  • Coeliac disease – spelled celiac disease in North America and often celiac sprue, is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward.
  • Communication disorder – a speech and language disorder which refers to problems in communication and in related areas such as oral motor function.
  • Crohn's disease (MAP) – which causes a similar disease, Johne's disease, in cattle.
  • Deafness – or hearing impairment, is a partial or total inability to hear where the ability would usually be expected.
  • Developmental coordination disorder
  • Dyscalculia – a specific learning disability involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic.
  • Dysgraphia – a deficiency in the ability to write primarily in terms of handwriting, but also in terms of coherence.
  • Dyslexia – a very broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, or rapid naming.
  • Echolalia – the automatic repetition of vocalizations made by another person.
  • Erotophobia – a term coined by a number of researchers in the late 1970s and early 1980s to describe one pole on a continuum of attitudes and beliefs about sexuality.
  • Hyperlexia – the precocious ability to read words without prior training in learning to read typically before the age of 5.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine.
  • Mental retardation (MR) – a generalized disorder appearing before adulthood, characterized by significantly impaired cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors.
  • Multiple-complex Developmental Disorder
  • Multisystem Developmental Disorder
  • Nonverbal learning disorder – or nonverbal learning disability (NLD or NVLD) is a condition characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal and lower motor, Theory_of_multiple_intelligences#Visual-spatial|visuo-spatial, and social skills on an IQ test.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Picture thinking
  • Pragmatic language impairment
  • Pyroluria
  • Sensory processing disorder – a disorder characterized by a sensory integration deficit.
  • Sensory defensiveness – a condition defined as having "a tendency to react negatively or with alarm to sensory input which is generally considered harmless or non-irritating" to neurotypical persons.
  • Sensory overload – related to cognitive load in general, is a condition where one or more of the senses are strained and it becomes difficult to focus on the task at hand.
  • Social alienation – estrangement, division, or distancing of people from each other, or of people from what is important or meaningful to them, or of a person from their own sense of self.
  • Tourette syndrome – a disorder characterized by repetitive motor and vocal tics.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barrett, Stephen. "Secretin Found Ineffective for Treating Autism". www.quackwatch.org. Retrieved 13 June 2019.

External links[edit]