Another view of these disorders is that they are on a continuum known as autistic spectrum disorders. Another related continuum is Sensory Integration Dysfunction, which is about how well we integrate the information we receive from our senses. Autism, Asperger's syndrome, and Sensory Integration Dysfunction are all closely related and overlap.

Some high-achieving individuals are thought to have had some form of autism. However, this may be a favoured diagnosis due to the high current visibility of autism in the popular press.

There are two main manifestations of classical autism, regressive autism and early infantile autism. Early infantile autism is present at birth while regressive autism begins at approximately 18 months. There are also cases of children developing normally from birth but regressing around the age of 18 months, causing some degree of controversy as to when the neurological difference involved in autism truly began. Read more about Rare Autism spectrum disorders.

Adults with an autism spectrum disorder:

Some autistic adults, especially those with high-functioning autism or with Asperger's syndrome, are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs (though many are unemployed). Nevertheless, communication and social problems often cause difficulties in many areas of life.

Many other autistics are capable of employment in sheltered workshops under the supervision of managers trained in working with persons with disabilities. A nurturing environment at home, at school, and later in job training and at work, helps autistic people continue to learn and to develop throughout their lives.

In the United States, the public schools' responsibility for providing services ends when the autistic person is in their 20s, depending on each state. The family is then faced with the challenge of finding living arrangements and employment to match the particular needs of their adult child, as well as the programs and facilities that can provide support services to achieve these goals.