Key diagnostic features of an autism spectrum disorder

key diagnostic features of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

  • Deficits in social communication and social interaction
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities (such as repetitive movements, stereotyped speech, highly restricted interests, or very inflexible adherence to routines)
  • Motor development is generally not affected though patients may be “clumsy”
  • Symptoms are present from early in the developmental period
  • Discrete categories such as “autistic disorder” and “Asperger syndrome” have now been replaced by one overarching diagnosis: ASD.
  • In addition to these key diagnostic features, name three common neurologic comorbidities of ASD.
    • • Sleep disturbance—particularly insomnia with difficulty initiating and/or maintaining sleep
    • • Epilepsy—which occurs at a much higher rate in ASD patients than in the general population
    • • ADHD—a disorder that may now be diagnosed in patients with an ASD


American Psychiatric Association: The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th ed. Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013.


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