Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) encompass a range of complex neurodevelopmental conditions that affect individuals in diverse ways. From challenges in social interaction and communication to restricted interests and repetitive behaviours, ASD presents a spectrum of symptoms and severity levels. Understanding the various forms of autism in India is crucial for effective diagnosis, intervention, and support for individuals and their families.

Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s Syndrome is characterised by milder symptoms than Autistic Disorder, particularly in language and cognitive development. Individuals with Asperger’s typically have average to above-average intelligence and may develop extensive vocabularies. However, they often struggle with social interactions and interpreting social cues and may be interested in specific topics.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

PDD-NOS is diagnosed when individuals exhibit some, but not all, of the symptoms required for a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder or Asperger’s Syndrome. This category is usually employed for people who have significant impairments in social interaction or communication skills but do not meet the criteria for other specific ASD diagnoses.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) is a rare condition where children initially develop typically for the first few years of life, only to experience a sudden and profound failure of formerly acquired skills, including language, social, and motor skills. This regression usually occurs between the ages of 2 and 4 and is often accompanied by the onset of autistic symptoms.

Rett Syndrome

Rett Syndrome is a genetic condition that predominantly impacts females and is characterised by severe impairments in cognitive, social, and motor skills. Mutations in the MECP2 gene drive it and typically manifest between 6 and 18 months of age. Individuals with Rett Syndrome often have repetitive hand movements and loss of purposeful hand skills and may develop seizures.

High-Functioning Autism (HFA)

High-Functioning Autism refers to individuals with ASD who have average to above-average intelligence and good verbal skills but still experience challenges in social interaction and communication. They may excel in specific areas of interest or academic subjects but need help with social nuances and forming relationships.

Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder

In the DSM-5, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is categorised into three levels, depending on the level of support individuals need. Level 1 ASD, also known as needing support, reflects individuals who require support in social, communication, or behavioural domains. These individuals may have difficulty initiating social interactions and exhibit atypical responses to social cues.

Level 2 Autism Spectrum Disorder

Level 2 ASD, or requiring substantial support, is characterised by marked impairments in social communication skills and the presence of repetitive behaviours. Individuals at this level may have difficulty adapting to changes in routines or environments. They may require significant support to navigate social situations and daily living activities.

Level 3 Autism Spectrum Disorder

Level 3 ASD, also known as requiring very substantial support, represents the most severe form of the disorder. Individuals at this level exhibit severe deficits in social communication skills and may have limited verbal communication abilities. They often require extensive support in all areas of daily living, including personal care, communication, and managing behaviours.

Autism Care Centers in India

In recent years, India has witnessed a rise in specialised care for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Centers are emerging nationwide, offering tailored services, including diagnosis, therapies, and educational programs. An autism center in India collaborates with schools and community organisations to integrate individuals with ASD into society. Despite challenges like accessibility and cost, the presence of an autism care center signifies progress in enhancing the quality of life and community acceptance of individuals with autism in India.


Autism Spectrum Disorders encompass a diverse range of conditions that vary in severity and presentation. From classic autism to high-functioning autism and other related disorders, each individual with ASD has unique strengths and challenges. Understanding the various forms of ASD is essential for providing appropriate interventions, support, and resources to improve the quality of life for people on the spectrum and their families.