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The Autism Spectrum

Autism was first identified in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanner of Johns Hopkins Hospital. At the same time, a German scientist, Dr. Hans Asperger, described a milder form of the disorder that is now known as Asperger Syndrome. These developmental disorders are two of the five listed in the "DSM IV," the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Published in 1994, the DSM IV is the main diagnostic reference used by mental health professionals and insurance providers in the United States.2

the autism spectrumAll five of the developmental disorders included in the DSM IV are characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills, social abilities and repetitive behaviors. They include:


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