NECTAC Austism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) topic editor: Evelyn Shaw
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Autism spectrum disorders, or ASD, is an umbrella term commonly used to describe several developmental disorders in which individuals have substantial differences in the nature of their social development and communication skills, as well as unusual behaviors and interests. ASD is not a diagnostic category, but is widely used to refer to three of the five diagnoses under the category of pervasive developmental disorders. Those three diagnoses are Autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).