Different, not less.
— Temple Grandin
 
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Autism Spectrum Disorder (Autism, ASD, or Takiwātanga in Te Reo) is a lifelong difference affecting developmental areas such as communication, social, behaviour and sensory. In other words, it affects how a person communicates and relates to others, as well as how they experience the world around them.

Because of the varied way people present with Autism in terms of strengths and weaknesses, Autism Spectrum Disorder is used to describe the entire range.

There is currently no one known cause of Autism.

Note: in 2013, the American Psychiatric Association merged four diagnoses to become one under Autism Spectrum Disorder in the DSM-5*. These included ‘autistic disorder’, ‘Asperger Syndrome’, ‘pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)’, and ‘childhood disintegrative disorder’.

*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition