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Types Of Autism

Updated on December 21, 2011

Autism is a developmental neurological disorder which includes symptoms such as impaired social interaction and inability to properly communicate either verbally or non verbally. Basically autism is a broader term which includes many other developmental disorders.

The term autism is applied to the general developmental disability which is diagnosed at the early stages of childhood. If we give a closer look to this disorder we discover that autism has different types with different levels of severity and different symptoms. Below are the five main types of Autism:

Asperger's Disorder

Asperger’s disorder is the most common type of Autism. It is a less severe form of autism which includes symptoms such as inability to socially interact and lack of proper communication. 

Autism awareness ribbon.
Autism awareness ribbon.

These children have a problem adjusting to changes and do not like a change in routine. Due to this at the very early stage this disorder is often confused with obsessive compulsive disorder.

The child suffering from Asperger’s disorder also suffers from a learning disability. They also have underdeveloped motor skills due to which they are usually clumsy. In most cases the child also develops a special sensitivity towards bright lights and loud sounds.

Although these kids may have a disability they usually have an exceptional intelligence, having a talent they excel at. As these kids grow up, if they are treated well, they may be develop their communication skills and learn to interact socially.

An autism stricken child.
An autism stricken child.
A child showing autistic behavior, by making a line of toys.
A child showing autistic behavior, by making a line of toys.
Brain usage for movement, in autistic patients (colored yellow). Blue areas are used for normal movement.
Brain usage for movement, in autistic patients (colored yellow). Blue areas are used for normal movement.

Kanner's Syndrome Or Classic Autism

Classic autism or Kanner's Syndrome was described and studied it in the 1930s and by Dr. Kanner. This type of autism is perhaps the most severe of all the types of autism. In this disorder the child suffering has a severe disability to communicate and socially interact.

Usually children suffering from classic autism never learn to speak and even if they do they can never speak fluently. A child suffering from classic autism has a very limited emotional connection with anyone and lives in his own world.

He wants everything in a same order and can not bear a change in routine. Other than that the child is also deeply affected by strong smells, bright lights and loud sounds.

This disorder has no cure, treatment may help a little, but usually it remains throughout the life of a person.

Rett’s Syndrome

Rett’s syndrome is comparatively a lesser known and an extremely severe type of autism. This type of autism is found only in females. The early symptoms of Rett’s syndrome include:  loss of muscle tone, problem in crawling or walking and an improper eye contact.

Later as these females grow up they stop using their hands to do normal things and instead start doing abnormal hand gestures such as clapping and patting their hands. These girls also have the inability to perform motor functions.

These females appear to be normal when they are born but as they grow up, they start to lose their basic skills and as they grow further they completely lose their ability to properly communicate, interact socially and they also lose their ability to perform normal tasks.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

This disorder is also a rare form of autism just like Rett’s syndrome.

The children suffering from this disorder appear to be perfectly normal in the beginning; the symptoms start to appear between the age of 2 and 4.

The child starts to lose his motor skills, starts to isolate himself from other children and stops communicating.

He forgets his potty training and forgets to perform all the basic functions of life.

Slowly and gradually the children completely transforms and completely stops communicating and interacting with others.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified

This type of autism includes children with symptoms from all the other four types of autism disorders or they may not fully meet the criteria of any of the above given types of autism.

This is a complex type of autism and is not yet confirmed as one of the types of autism, but for now we include this in the category of autism.

Autism is now one of the most common neurological disorders of the world. Although this disorder can never be completely cured, it can now be treated to reduce the symptoms. This allows the children suffering to be able to at least live their lives properly. 

Autism Facts


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    • hassam profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pakistan

      Hi beachelf, I understand your concerns but the article has discussed only 5 types of autism like mentioned in the introduction. The extra headings are just links to other articles, which the reader might get interested in. I will align them separately for your and others readability.

      The articles published here and on most of the other content based websites, should merely be considered academic in nature and not as a 100% correct source, just like wikepedia. This is specially true about health related articles. Only the doctors can tell you what is true about an ailment, and it is definitely best to look for help online where actual medical professional are available.

    • beachelf profile image


      7 years ago from Virginia

      As a mom of a child with PDD-NOS, I am a bit concerned with the design of your article. Specifically, you say that there are 5 types of Autism, but in your section headings, Depression and Sleep Disorders, as well as Schizophrenia, are discussed. I am concerned that a reader who is uneducated about Autism might think that these 3 topics are also kinds of Autism, which they are not.

      Readers who want to learn more about Medical diagnoses and conditions would be better served to begin their research on reliable sites such as the CDC or NIH. Laypeople, even those of us who live with the conditions and are very familiar with them, are not qualified to disseminate health information as factual.

    • salt profile image


      7 years ago from australia

      Thankyou. I understand this a little better.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The level of autism varies over a wide spectrum. Some have mild autism which enable them to speak and still function in everyday life. Others may have more severe forms.

      Daniel Tammet is a high-functional autistic savant that had written multiple books and have been on the David Letterman Show. More details on this hub:


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