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Condition/Disorder Synonyms

  • Autism

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)

ICD-9-CM Codes

ICD-10-CM Codes

Preferred Practice Pattern

Key Features


  • Group of disorders including PDD, autism, and Asperger syndrome that are characterized by a variety of features:

    • - Difficulty with socialization

    • - Difficulty with communication

    • - Stereotypical movements

    • - Developmental delay

Essentials of Diagnosis

  • Deficits in socialization

  • Deficits in communication

  • Stereotypical and/or repetitive movements

    • - Ritualistic behavior

    • - Inflexible, requires predictable routines

    • - Self-stimulation behaviors such as flapping arms or rocking

  • Atypical play or interest in toys or objects

    • - Preoccupation with objects such as door stop or ceiling fan

    • - Obsessively lines up objects such as blocks

General Consideration


  • About 1 in 100 children2

  • Males three to four times more than females2

  • Siblings 2% to 8% greater risk2

Clinical Findings

Signs and Symptoms

  • Generally apparent by 18 months of age.

  • One of the earliest signs is the child's inability to respond when his/her name is called.

  • Parents may report infant does not like them because he/she does not like to be held.

  • Developmental delay such as learning to walk late.

  • Associated disorders

Functional Implications

  • Delayed developmental milestones including the following:

    • - Communication

    • - Social-emotional skills

    • - Gross motor skills

    • - Self-care

    • - Cognitive

  • Lack of age-appropriate safety skills

  • Inability to live independently

Possible Contributing Causes

  • Primarily, idiopathic

  • Genetic

  • Familial

  • Viral

  • Immunologic

Differential Diagnosis


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