Babies born to mothers who took
antidepressants early in their
pregnancy are approximately three
times more likely to develop autism.

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Autism is known as a "spectrum" disorder, meaning that the severity and symptoms will range from person to person. Autism can range from mild to severe, and can affect each individual differently. There are several different types of ASDs, including:

  • Autistic Disorder: Also called "classic" autism, Autistic Disorder is the most severe form of ASD. Autistic Disorder is characterized by significant language delays, social and communication difficulties, and unusual or obsessive behaviors and interests. Many people with Autistic Disorder may also have mental retardation.

  • Asperger Syndrome (Asperger Disorder): Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a milder form of classic autism with milder symptoms. People with Asperger Syndrome may exhibit social challenges as well as unusual behaviors and interests, particularly an obsessive interest in a single object or topic. Unlike people with Autistic Disorder, those with Asperger’s normally don’t exhibit difficulties with language or cognitive ability. Their speech, however, may exhibit a lack of rhythm or monotone pitch.

  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS): Also called Atypical Autism, PDD-NOS is diagnosed when a child shows some (but not all) signs of either Autistic Disorder or Asperger Syndrome but cannot be placed into either of these categories. For example, a person diagnosed with PDD-NOS might have challenges with social interaction but will not show repetitive or obsessive behaviors.

  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (Heller's Syndrome): This rare type of ASD is characterized by a late onset of autism symptoms which normally occur when a child is between three and four years of age. After seemingly normal development, a child with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, or Heller’s Syndrome, will lose the skills previously acquired (this includes language skills, motor skills and social skills).

  • Rett Syndrome: Most babies with Rett syndrome develop normally at first, but symptoms start to surface after 6 months of age. Over time, children with Rett syndrome have increasing problems with movement, coordination and communication that may affect their ability to use their hands, communicate and walk.



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