Asperger's disorder, which is also called Asperger's syndrome (AS) or autistic psychopathy, belongs to a group of childhood disorders known as pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) or autistic spectrum disorders. The essential features of Asperger's disorder are severe social interaction impairment and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior and activities. It is similar to autism, but children with Asperger's do not have the same difficulties in acquiring language that children with autism have.
In the mental health professional's diagnostic handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition text revised, or DSM-IV-TR, Asperger's disorder is classified as a developmental disorder of childhood.
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Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.