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Autism Spectrum Disorder: Disability, Symptoms, Causes

autism spectrum disorder asd
Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | October 3, 2019(Last update: October 3, 2019)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website:

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder which affects communication and behavior. Autism can be diagnosed at any age. But still it is called a “developmental disorder” because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life. Autism affects affects the overall cognitive, emotional, social and physical health of the affected individual.

Autism is called as a “spectrum” disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience.

What Happens in Autism Spectrum Disorder?

The exact cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder is so far unknown. There is no one single cause. However, following aspects may increase the risk:

  1. Family history
  2. Genetic mutations
  3. Fragile X syndrome and other genetic disorders
  4. Being born to older parents
  5. Low birth weight
  6. Metabolic imbalances
  7. Exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins
  8. Fetal exposure to the medications valproic acid (Depakene) or thalidomide (Thalomid)

autism spectrum disorder asd

Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

  1. Abnormal Body Posturing or Facial Expressions
  2. Abnormal Tone of Voice
  3. Avoidance of Eye Contact or Poor Eye Contact
  4. Behavioral Disturbances
  5. Deficits in Language Comprehension
  6. Delay in Learning to Speak
  7. Flat or Monotonous Speech
  8. Inappropriate Social Interaction
  9. Intense Focus on One Topic
  10. Lack of Empathy
  11. Lack of Understanding Social Cues
  12. Learning Disability or Difficulty
  13. Not Engaging in Play With Peers
  14. Preoccupation With Specific Topics
  15. Problems With Two-Way Conversation
  16. Repeating Words or Phrases
  17. Repetitive Movements
  18. Self-Abusive Behaviors
  19. Sleep Disturbances
  20. Social Withdrawal
  21. Unusual Reactions in Social Settings
  22. Using Odd Words or Phrases

Does Vaccination cause ASD?

No. A number of studies have been conducted to see whether there is a link between any vaccine and Autism. None, of the studies showed any such link.

Can ASD be Prevented?

No. Autism can not be prevented. But with treatment can improve behavior, skills and language development.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)

The DSM-5 was published on 18 May 2013. autism and less severe forms of the condition, including Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), have been combined into the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Therefore, now Asperger syndrome is no longer considered a separate syndrome. Now, it is part of ASD.

Population of People with Autism

  • In 2015, globally more than 24.8 million people were estimated to be affected with Autism, while Asperger syndrome affected a further 37.2 million.
  • Autism occurs four-to-five times more often in males than females.
  • In the developed countries, about 1.5% of children are diagnosed with ASD as of 2017.

ICD-10 Code for Autism Spectrum Disorder

For Autism Spectrum Disorder, the ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code is F84.0

F84.0 code is a billable/specific ICD-10-CM code that can be used to indicate a diagnosis for reimbursement purposes.

For Asperger’s syndrome the ICD-10 code is F84.5

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