Parents who want to know more about the autism spectrum but simply don’t shelve a copy of the DSM IV (the “bible” for psychologists and psychiatrists) in their public library don’t have to look far. You can check out a copy from your local library, or just sit and page through it if the library keeps it in their reference section of books that stay in the library but don’t go home.
Essentially, what the DSM IV will tell any curious reader about autism is this:
Six measurable areas of marked delay or inappropriate level of functioning for child’s age, which usually and most often include eye to eye contact, social interaction with others, verbal communication, gross motor or fine motor development, peer to peer connections, extreme fixation on specific items or topics, repetitive and focused movements or behaviors, preference for either extreme quiet or extreme noise, “savant” splinter skills, and a few other categories/characteristics.
This is a lot for most parents to process and without the aid of a specially trained and licensed autism psychiatrist, parents should not assume their child has this disorder. A pediatric neurologist is also needed to confirm the neurological alterations in the brain of any child suspected to have autism. Your family doctor can give you the proper referrals for these doctors and their tests.