The disability category Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is an educational verification, used in order to facilitate early identification by public schools of individuals demonstrating behaviors consistent with a medical diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorders from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Edition), American Psychiatric Association. Pervasive Developmental Disorders include: Autistic Disorder, Rett's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
Differential Features of Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Autistic Disorder
  • qualitative impairment in social interaction and communication
  • restricted, repetitive, stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities
  • delays or abnormal functioning, with onset prior to age 3 years, in social interaction, language used in social communication, or symbolic/imaginative play
Asperger's Disorder
  • qualitative impairment in social interaction
  • impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
  • no significant general delay in language
  • no significant delay in cognitive development or self-help skills
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
  • apparently normal development for at least first 2 years
  • loss of previously acquired skills (before age 10 years) in-expressive or receptive language
  • social skills or adaptive behavior-bowel or bladder control-play-motor skills
Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
  • severe and pervasive impairment in reciprocal social interaction; or
  • severe and pervasive impairment in verbal and nonverbal communication skills; or
  • when stereotyped behavior, interests, and activities are present, but the criteria for a specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder are not met.
Rett's Disorder
  • onset following period of normal development
  • deceleration of head growth between 5 and 48 months
  • loss of previously acquired purposeful hand skills between 5 and 30 months, with subsequent development of stereotyped hand movements
  • observed in females