Autism is not a single disorder, but a spectrum of closely related disorders with a shared core of symptoms. Every child on the autism spectrum has problems with social interaction, empathy, communication, and flexible behavior.
But the level of disability and the combination of symptoms varies tremendously from person to person.
In order to determine whether your child has an autism spectrum disorder or another developmental condition, clinicians look carefully at the way your child interacts with others, communicates and behaves. Diagnosis is based on the patterns of behavior that are revealed.