What Is Level 2 Autism?




There are three recognized levels of autism, with level 1 being the mildest, level 2 somewhat more severe, and level 3 the most severe level.

If your child has been diagnosed with level 2 autism, you might wonder if level 2 autism can be cured, what type of symptoms to expect, and what the autism level 2 prognosis is.

Type 2 autism, or level 2 autism, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects how an individual communicates and behaves. They are compromised in social communication, exhibiting atypical social behaviors, and may even walk away in the middle of an interaction. They may also experience stress when confronted with change or transition. Many individuals with type 2 autism need extra support at home or school. [i]

As with all types of autism, autism level 2 symptoms can look different in boys vs. girls. Autistic girls tend to be better at masking symptoms by mimicking neurotypical peers and may appear to cope better in social situations.

The Drake Institute helps patients with ASD reduce their symptoms. Our non-invasive, drug-free treatment protocols for autism use qEEG brain map-guided neurofeedback treatment to improve one’s capacities and quality of life.

To learn more about how the Drake Institute helps patients with ASD, ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, and more, call us at 800-700-4233 or fill out the contact form.



What Is Autism?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that occurs in 1 in 36 children in the USA. [ii]

While it is diagnosed much more often in boys, this discrepancy may result from gender bias in diagnosing or because girls tend to be better at “masking” their symptoms.

There is no single cause of autism, but it is suspected that genetic, biological, and environmental factors are involved in its development.[iii]

Autism is a lifelong diagnosis. While there is no known cure for autism, early diagnosis and treatment are the best way to maximize clinical improvement.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Autism?

Signs of autism associated with children affect how the child interacts with others, communicates, and behaves. Symptom severity will differ from individual to individual, and not everyone will have all symptoms to the same degree.

Because signs and symptoms of autism appear in early childhood, a reliable diagnosis can often be made by just two years old. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to achieving the best possible outcomes for the patient.

Signs of autism in children include the following: [iv]

  • Avoids eye contact
  • Doesn’t respond to name by 9 months of age
  • Lack of facial expressions (e.g., happy, sad, angry, etc.) by 9 months of age
  • Doesn’t play simple interactive games (e.g., pat-e-cake) by 12 months of age
  • Uses few or no hand gestures (e.g., doesn’t wave hello or goodbye) by 12 months of age
  • Doesn’t share interests with others (e.g., doesn’t show you their favorite toy) by 15 months of age
  • Doesn’t point to show you something interesting by 18 months of age
  • Doesn’t notice when others are hurt or upset by 24 months of age
  • Doesn’t notice other children and play with them by 36 months of age
  • Doesn’t pretend to be someone else (e.g., teacher, superhero, etc.) by 48 months of age
  • Doesn’t sing, act, or dance for you by 60 months of age

What Does Autism Level 2 Look Like?

Level 2 autism is like level 1, but the symptoms are more severe, and the child requires more support

An autistic level 2 individual may show the following impairments: [v]

  • Using fewer words
  • Missing nonverbal communication cues
  • Not responding or walking away during a conversation
  • A high interest in specific topics
  • Noticeable stress when dealing with change

How Is Level 2 Autism Diagnosed?

Level 2 autism is diagnosed as part of a process that begins with monitoring developmental milestones early on. While your pediatrician will perform autism monitoring at early visits, it is important that parents, family members, and childcare workers also pay attention to the child’s developmental milestones.

If your child exhibits developmental delays or shows regression in development, then an autism screening may be recommended. During the autism screening, your pediatrician will ask questions about your child’s important developmental milestones, and about their behavior and communication skills. If autism seems a likely diagnosis, you may be referred for an autism evaluation.

An autism evaluation includes a thorough developmental history and observations of the child. A professional should also rule out ADHD, anxiety disorder, or selective mutism as a primary diagnosis. This is necessary to see if the child meets DSM-5 criteria for an autism diagnosis. Sometimes the child may also be referred for an additional evaluation to rule out any genetic disorder, other neurodevelopmental disorders, or medical comorbidities.[vi]

How Does Level 2 Autism Compare To Level 1 & Level 3?

Level 2 autism is milder than level 3 and more severe than level 1. Obviously, level 2 autism symptoms may be more disruptive to daily life than symptoms of level 1, which is why level 2 requires more support for the child.

Level 2 Autism vs. Level 1 Autism

A person with level 2 autism (sometimes mislabeled as “stage 2 autism”) may exhibit several atypical social behaviors, like not engaging in a conversation or even walking away. People with level 1 autism may struggle to understand social cues or norms but may not exhibit these more significant atypical social behaviors.

Dealing with change can be difficult for anyone with ASD. People with level 2 may feel distressed when presented with change, while someone with level 1 may experience only mild stress during these times.

Autism level 2 is not high-functioning autism; that term is more compatible with level 1.

Level 2 Autism vs. Level 3 Autism

Individuals with level 3 autism will need more support and assistance in daily life than those with level 2.  Individuals with level 3 autism may require more substantial one-on-one support to aid with communication deficits and simply daily functioning. Repetitive behaviors are also more severe or disruptive in level 3. Can Level 2 Autism Be Cured?

There is no known cure for any level of autism. ASD is a life-long condition. The earlier autism is diagnosed, the sooner effective treatment interventions, services, and support can be initiated. While level 2 autism cannot be cured, early intervention can lead to a better prognosis and higher quality of life for the autistic individual.

How The Drake Institute Treats Autism

For over 40 years, the Drake Institute has been using advanced treatment technologies to address various brain-based medical, psychological, and neurodevelopmental conditions and their symptoms. These include ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and stress disorders like PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more.  Using a combination of brain mapping and neurofeedback, our Medical Director creates customized treatment protocols to address each patient’s needs. Here’s how we do it:

Brain Mapping

Before initiating treatment, we use qEEG brain mapping to identify which areas and functional networks of the brain are dysregulated linked to symptoms. During this process, 19 sensors are placed around the scalp in areas of the brain responsible for language, social/emotional understanding, focus, memory, executive functioning, and behavioral/emotional regulation.

The sensors measure and record brainwave activity that is processed through a normative FDA-registered database of same-age individuals with neurotypical brain activity.

When we compare the patient’s qEEG results with those of neurotypical individuals, we can identify regions or networks of the brain that are dysregulated linked to symptoms. Once we’ve located the specific dysregulated areas responsible for symptoms, we can design an individualized treatment protocol.


When the brain sees the results of how it is functioning via visual and auditory feedback, one’s brain can change what it is doing and modify its activity in a more functional desired direction.

During neurofeedback training, sensors are once again placed on the scalp. The sensors record and display instantaneous brainwave activity in real-time on a computer screen along with auditory feedback.

During neurofeedback treatment sessions, the patient will learn to improve brain activity by guiding it toward healthier, more appropriately functional brainwave patterns. No drugs are administered, and there are no invasive procedures involved. Instead, the patient is improving their own brain functioning, using their own brain resources guided by visual and auditory feedback.


As an adjunct to neurofeedback, we may also use neurostimulation guided by qEEG brain map findings to gently stimulate the brain into healthier functional patterns. In our experience, some patients may benefit even more from neurofeedback if we also use neurostimulation. We have found this particularly helpful for children with Level 2 or Level 3 autism.

Contact The Drake Institute Today!

For more than forty years, the Drake Institute has helped thousands of patients with brain-based disorders like Autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more achieve a reduction in symptoms and a higher quality of life. Call us at 800-700-4233 or fill out the free consultation form to get help.


[i] https://psychcentral.com/autism/levels-of-autism#level-2

[ii] https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

[iii] https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-causes-autism

[iv] https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/signs.html

[v] https://psychcentral.com/autism/levels-of-autism#level-2

[vi] https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/screening.html

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dr david velkoff headshot

“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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