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Abstract

An overview of autism is provided. History, prevalence and causes are described. The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are developmental disorders defined by significantly abnormal social interaction, impaired communication and language abilities and a narrow pattern of interests. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (IV edition-text revision), autistic disorder (AD) is the most severe form of ASD. Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified are considered milder forms of ASD. The American Psychiatric Association has recently released the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The diagnostic criteria for ASD have been modified based on the research literature and clinical experience in the 19 years since the DSM-IV was published in 1994. In particular, the diagnosis will be called Autism Spectrum Disorder and there will no longer be sub-diagnoses.

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Correspondence to Laura de Magistris PhD .

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Maresca, R., de Magistris, L. (2015). Autism: What Is It?. In: Robinson-Agramonte, M. (eds) Translational Approaches to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16321-5_1

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