What Are the 5 Different Types of Autism?

Autism is classified as a developmental disability that often creates behavioral, social, and communicative challenges for the person suffering from the condition. While there are typically no visible signs that a person suffers from autism, it can be seen in the way that they act, learn, communicate, and interact with one another. Autism affects people in different ways, and all individuals that are diagnosed with autism learn, think, and behave differently. Some are extremely independent, and others need more help with day to day activities.


Some general signs of autism are:

  • Being extremely observant of people and events taking place, but not having the “know-how” to play or relate to them.

  • Preferring not to be touched. Children or adults may not want to be held or cuddled, unless it is on their terms.

  • Showing little eye contact and preferring to be isolated.

  • The inability to look at objects when someone points them out.

  • The inability to understand the feelings of other people, or even their own.

  • Not pointing at items to show interest in them.

  • Seeming to ignore people when spoken to, but showing reactions to other sounds.

  • Having the inability to express their needs or feelings verbally.

  • Repeating words or phrases instead of holding a conversation.

  • The inability to pretend or show imagination.

  • Having intense reactions to how things trigger the senses.


There are five different variations of Autism Spectrum Disorders, including:

  • Asperger Syndrome: Those with Asperger Syndrome show mild signs of autism. While they may have “different” interests than those around them, and social challenges, they usually do not show signs of any language or intellectual challenges.

  • Austistic Disorder: This is the most common form of autism. Those with Autistic Disorder have speech delays, atypical interests, communication challenges, odd behaviors, and social challenges. Intellectual disabilities are also common with Autistic Disorder.

  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: Those with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder affects those suffering with it by regression of language, motor skills, and social function. Those with CDD are low-functioning, and there is a dramatic loss of learned skills.

  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder: Patients that have Pervasive Developmental Disorder usually have social and communicative challenges, but do not have other symptoms of autism. In this sense, it can be classified as “atypical autism.”

  • Rett Syndrome: Those with Rett Syndrome lose their ability to speak and the ability to use their hands to communicate. Although rare, this genetic neurological disorder leads to severe impairments


There are no known cures for autism; however early intervention services (in young children) and music therapy have been known to help those suffering with autism developmentally, in order to assist in showing feelings in a positive way. These therapies help patients talk, interact, and learn from birth!


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