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This section will focus on those topics most relevant to child psychiatrists, child psychologists, pediatricians, and family practitioners. Because persons on the autism spectrum can be affected with many diverse behavioral, cognitive, and emotional difficulties, treatment must be both broad and tailored to the needs of each person. The initial evaluation should provide information not only about the specific symptoms of autism but also about the person's level of intellectual functioning; basic vocabulary and grammar skills; fine and gross motor skills; the presence of hypersensitivity to auditory, tactile, or visual sensory input; and the presence of other psychiatric diagnoses, in particular anxiety disorder and symptoms of attention-deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (DSM-IV does not allow a diagnosis of ADHD in the presence of a PDD). A treatment plan must be developed that addresses that particular person's needs. Other specialists must be consulted by the family: speech pathologists, occupational and recreational therapists, behavioral specialists with expertise in autism, a sleep medicine specialist for children with serious sleep problems, and special education teachers who can design a suitable curriculum and who know how to deal with the specific problems that may interfere with the child's learning in school. Autistic persons may not understand that if they follow the teacher's instruction that the teacher will be pleased, they may not know why "fitting in" to the school routines is important, and they may, of course, have moderate to severe intellectual handicap as well.

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