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Autism diagnosis is based on impairments or deficits in three areas: social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive, restricted and stereotyped behavioral patterns (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Individuals with autism share common characteristics but vary substantially in severity and combination, which is why autism is considered a spectrum disorder (ASD). Asperger disorder (AD) and Asperger syndrome (AS) are spectrum disorders that are characterized by similar behaviors as those present in autism. For those with the disorder or syndrome, impairments in social interaction exist. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior and/or interest are present in this population. The reported rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has significantly increased since the 1980s (Tincani, Travers, & Boutot, 2009).

However with AD clinically significant delays in language development, adaptive behavior, and cognitive functioning are not normally present (Siegel, 1996). An increasing number of children are receiving diagnoses for both of these disorders (Nicholson, Kehle, Bray, & Van Heest, 2011). It has been found that parents of children with autism spectrum disorders have elevated stress levels. Depressive symptoms have also been found among mothers raising an ASD child. Parental stress has been one of the most frequently researched topics within ASD studies. Davis and Carter (2008) examined parental stress among mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders. They recruited 54 families, excluding the children who had previously diagnosed with a genetic disorder such as Rett's syndrome or fragile X syndrome. Davis and Carter (2008) found that thirty nine percent of the mothers experienced stress scores in the clinically significant range, and one-half in the clinically significant range on the Parent-Child Dysfunctional Interaction domain. There were no significant differences between fathers and mothe...

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Asperger. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:40, January 19, 2017, from