Nowadays, there are a lot of resources where communities can educate themselves about the disabilities that a lot of our children around us suffer from.

A lot of kids have special disabilities, in most cases a disability can affect their health and their development in all areas.

Let’s talk about Autism in particular.

Is Autism a disability? If it’s not a disability, what is it? Is it a disorder? Or is it simply a way of responding to people and the world around us?

These are some of the questions that most parents ask, just like people from the spectrum themselves. Unfortunately, the answers are far from being simple.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism spectrum disorder is defined as a “developmental disability”, while the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that ASD is a “developmental disorder”.

Meanwhile, the Individuals with disabilities education Act law (IDEA), has 13 categories for the disabilities, and autism spectrum disorder is number three on the list, calling it a developmental disability that affects “social and communication skills”, but it can also have an “impact on behavior”.

(LONGO, 2021)

Currently, experts recognize 3 levels depending on the particularities of each patient. For many people, the concept of autism, also called autism spectrum disorder (ASD), can be confusing.

The brazilian journal of Psychiatry, authored by the American psychologist Ami Klin, from Emory University (United States) and the brazilian psychiatrist Marcos Tomanik Mercadante, from the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), defines ASD as a family of socialization disorders that affect personal relationships, communication, the learning and adaptability of individuals to different environments.

For its part, the brazilian ministry of health highlights among the signs of autism difficulties in communicating and socializing, poor understanding of language, and the adoption of restrictive behaviors (for example, eating only one type of food and rejecting the others) and repetitive (such as moving a part of the body without stopping).

What are the types of autism?

According to revision 11th of the international classification of diseases (ICD-11) from the world health organization (WHO), currently, autism divides into 3 different levels depending on the needs that each person presents.

Level 1 (considered milder)

  • ASD without intellectual disability and with slight or no functional language impairment;
  • ASD with intellectual disabilities and mild or no functional language impairment

Level 2 (Moderated)

  • ASD without intellectual disability and absence of functional language
  • ASD with intellectual disability and absence of functional language

Level 3 (considered more severe)

  • ASD without intellectual disability and absence of functional language
  • ASD with intellectual disability and absence of functional language

What is Asperger’s syndrome and why is the term no longer used?

During a long time, health authorities understood Aspenger’s syndrome as a high-functioning “form of autism.” This means that the carriers presented similar difficulties to other autistic people, but at a very reduced level.

However, the ICD-11 grouped all autism related disorders into a single diagnosis: ASD.

According to WHO, the change was made to avoid errors, simplify coding and facilitate the diagnosis. There is also a movement, among the medical community itself and people with autism, to abolish the use of the term “Aspenger”.

All children with autism deserve the opportunity to have a happy and independent life. Looking for resources where they can help families with children with autism where parents can educate themselves with everything related to autism, where they can learn how to connect to the world, in hand with professionals is the first step that families can begin with.

(, 2024)

Courtesy of: Caravel Autism Health