Although autism has been around for many years, it has just recently been getting diagnosed more and more. Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 68 American children are on the autism spectrum (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). 1 in every 42 boys and 1 in every 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States (Autism Speaks, 2014). .
According to the DSM-V, there are five criteria that need to be present in order for an individual to be diagnosed with ASD. The first criterion states "persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts such as; deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, and deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships (DSM-V, 2013)." The second criterion states "Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following; stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech, insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns or verbal nonverbal behavior, highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus, hyper- or hypo reactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (DSM-V, 2013)." Third, symptoms must exist in the early developmental period (DSM-V, 2013). The fourth criterion states "Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning (DSM-V, 2013)." Lastly, "these disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability or global developmental delay (DSM-V, 2013)." .
The adolescent's level of understanding has a lot to do autism, especially because it has a lot to do with the environment, the people they're around, and also the engagement in therapy and support from family that he or she will live a close to normal life.