Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disability resulting in persistent deficits in an individual’s social and communication capabilities. It appears in the first three years of life and continues to be manifested throughout life. People diagnosed with ASD display varying degrees of symptoms, skills and capabilities. The American Psychiatric Association currently groups the following disorders under ASD: Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive disorders not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
Despite advances in genetic testing there is no biological test for ASD. It “occurs” across every socioeconomic level and among all racial and ethnic groups in this country. Boys are more frequently found to be impacted than girls. According to the Centers for Disease Control one in fify-eight children in the United States are affected.
One in seven people experience disability in their lifetime, but despite the Americans with Disabilities Act, many Americans are still uncomfortable with the concept of disability. Disability Studies is a multidisciplinary subject with a focus both on the individual’s capabilities and society’s conceptions of people with disabilities. As a course of study Disability Studies combines clinical approaches to the individual’s needs and critical study of society’s reactions.