What Is Level 3 Autism?

There are 3 levels of autism spectrum disorder that indicate how much support an individual may need. Level one is considered the mildest level, while autism level 3 is the most severe form of the disorder.  

Level 3 autism symptoms require a very substantial amount of support for the best possible outcomes. Many individuals are nonverbal or very limited verbal with severe communication deficits. Repetitive physical behaviors are also more problematic in autism level 3. [i]

The Drake Institute has helped patients with all levels of ASD, including autism level 3. 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 Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that ranges from mild to severe and includes repetitive behaviors, impaired social communication, restricted interests, and rigidity.

ASD can be diagnosed as early as 2 years old and affects 1 in 44 children in the US. While it is mostly diagnosed in boys, this gender discrepancy may result from gender bias in diagnosing or because girls tend to be better at “masking” their symptoms. There is no agreed-upon single cause of ASD, though there are likely genetic, biological, and environmental factors. [ii]

Level 3 is the most severe form of the disorder. In level 3 autism there are severe deficits in functioning, which often require long-term assistance.

What Does Level 3 Autism Look Like? 

Autism level 3 is much more severe than levels 1 or 2 and will require substantial support for the best outcomes. Level 3 autism symptoms affect the individual’s ability to socialize, form relationships, and communicate. These symptoms are disruptive to developing a normal life.

Some specific level 3 autism symptoms include: [iii]

  • May be nonverbal or have echolalia
  • Preference towards solitary activities
  • May only interact with others to fulfill an immediate need
  • Limited interest in friendships
  • May engage in repetitive physical behaviors (e.g., rocking, blinking, etc.)
  • May display extreme frustration when asked to switch tasks

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

Level 3 autism is the most severe form of the disorder. Compared to levels 1 and 2, it requires a significant amount of additional outside help and support, especially in a school setting. In some cases, level 3 autistic individuals may need assistance with daily living throughout their lives.

Level 3 Autism vs. Level 1 Autism

Level 1 is the mildest form of ASD and the differences between level 1 and level 3 are significant. Where a person with level 1 autism may struggle with social norms, an individual with level 3 may not speak at all or have no interest in social interactions unless it is necessary.

Autism level 3 prognosis can be improved with early comprehensive intervention, but some level 3 autistic individuals may still require lifelong assistance with daily tasks. [iv]

Level 3 Autism vs. Level 2 Autism

Individuals with level 2 autism may require support for accomplishing tasks and learning how to socialize, but they won’t need as much help as individuals with level 3. Like patients with level 1, patients with level 2 may struggle to understand social cues and may enact odd or inappropriate social behaviors. Meanwhile, patients with level 3 autism may avoid social situations altogether or only interact with others for immediate needs. [v]

Can Level 3 Autism Be Cured?

Level 3 autism cannot be cured. However, it is possible to help autistic individuals reduce their symptoms and achieve a higher quality of life.

While there is no known cure for autism, an early diagnosis can facilitate individuals getting the appropriate treatments and intervention needed for better outcomes. If you’re wondering how to help a child with level 3 autism, the first step is to get a diagnosis as soon as possible so intervention can be implemented.

How The Drake Institute Treats Autism

For over 40 years, the Drake Institute has been using advanced treatment technologies to treat a variety of brain-based medical conditions such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and stress disorders, including 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. The first step is qEEG brain mapping with clinical evaluation.

Brain Mapping

Before beginning treatment, we conduct a qEEG brain map to provide us with a blueprint of how to help. Brain mapping helps us identify which areas of the brain are experiencing dysregulation linked to symptoms. 19 sensors are placed around the scalp in areas of the brain responsible for language, social/emotional understanding, 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 neurotypical individuals.

When we compare the patient’s results with those of neurotypical individuals, we can identify the dysregulated regions or networks of the brain that are causing symptoms. Once we’ve identified these areas or networks, we can design an individualized treatment protocol.


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.

Through visual and auditory feedback, the brain can see the results of how it is functioning and can change what it is doing to perform in a more functional desired pattern.

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.


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 lower-functioning children on the Autism Spectrum.

Contact The Drake Institute Today!

For over forty years, the Drake Institute has helped patients with various disorders, such as ASD, ADHD, depression, insomnia, anxiety, migraine headaches, and more reduce their symptoms and achieve an improved quality of life. To find out how we can help, call 800-700-4233 or fill out the consultation form.


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

[ii] https://childmind.org/article/autistic-girls-overlooked-undiagnosed-autism/

[iii] https://psychcentral.com/autism/levels-of-autism#level-3

[iv] https://psychcentral.com/autism/levels-of-autism#level-1

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

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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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