You may have heard a variety of terms used to refer to autism and similar ways of experiencing the world:

  • autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the medical name for autism, highlighting the spectrum nature of autism where individuals experience widely varying degrees of each associated strength or challenge;
  • Asperger syndrome (Asperger’s) has been used in the past to refer to a type of autism characterized by stronger language and intellectual capabilities, but it is no longer a diagnostic term and today is considered controversial;
  • aspie is an informal term derived from Asperger’s;
  • neurodiversity is a concept that recognizes and respects neurological differences as a natural variation within the human population;
  • on the spectrum is a colloquial phrase to refer to someone with autism;

The NIMH lists the characteristics of autism here: