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Autism spectrum disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. People with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in different ways. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and usually last throughout a person’s life (4).

Individuals with autistic disorder often have more severe symptoms of ASD, such as difficulties with communication. Autistic disorder is no longer diagnosed separately but rather included as part of ASD.

Individuals with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) often have some but not all symptoms of ‘autistic disorder.’ PDD-NOS is no longer diagnosed separately but rather included as part of ASD

Individuals with Asperger syndrome often have milder or fewer symptoms of ASD. Although symptoms are present early in life, Asperger syndrome is usually diagnosed when a child is school-aged or later. Asperger syndrome is no longer diagnosed separately but rather included as part of ASD.


Comprehensive developmental evaluation
A comprehensive developmental evaluation is a thorough review of how a child plays, learns, communicates, acts, and moves, and whether those characteristics have changed over time. A range of professionals can conduct developmental evaluations, including teachers, social workers, nurses, psychologists, doctors, and speech-language pathologists. Specialists, such as developmental pediatricians, often use the results of a developmental evaluation to determine if a child has ASD.

Community provider
A community provider is a medical or educational professional who works with children with developmental disabilities (including psychologists, physicians, teachers, learning specialists, speech/language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, social workers, and others) within the ADDM Network communities.


Developmental delay
A developmental delay is a persistent delay experienced by a child in reaching one or more developmental milestones—how children grow, move, communicate, interact, learn, and play.


Intellectual disability
Intellectual disability means that a person has difficulty learning at an expected level and functioning in daily life. In this report, intellectual disability is measured by intelligence quotient (IQ) test scores of less than or equal to 70.

Borderline range intellectual functioning means that a person has lower-than-average intelligence but does not have intellectual disability. In this Report, borderline range is defined as IQ test scores of 71 to 85

Average or above average intellectual ability means that a person can learn at an expected level and function in daily life. In this Report, average or above-average intellectual ability is defined as IQ test scores of greater than 85.


Prevalence is a scientific term that describes the number of people with a disease or condition among a defined group at a specific period in time. Prevalence is usually expressed as a percentage or proportion of the defined group.


Special education eligibility
Special education eligibility is the specific category in which a child is included as part of their eligibility for special education and related services at school under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. These categories include autism, deaf-blindness, developmental delay, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment.

(also known as ‘tracking’)

In public health, surveillance is defined as the continuous, systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health-related data.