Autism spectrum disorder is a disorder of brain development, according to Autism Speaks. It is considered an intellectual disability that causes difficulties in social interaction and with motor coordination and attention. Individuals with autism often have issues understanding verbal and/or nonverbal communication and display repetitive behaviors.
Autism can affect the following three areas of a child's life: social interaction, communication and behaviors, and interests, according to WebMD. The development of autism can occur shortly after birth or during later development stages, such as language acquisition. The three main types of autism spectrum disorder include Asperger's syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, and autistic disorder. Two severe types of autism spectrum disorder are Rett syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder.