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About Autism

Facts About Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.  ASD is a developmental disability and people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people.  The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely impaired.  Some people with ASD need high support (a lot of help and intensive intervention) while others need low support (less help and less intensive intervention).

All autism disorders were recently merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD.  The conditions that used to be diagnosed separately but now included as ASD, are Autistic disorder, Pervasive Development Disorder, and Asperger Syndrome.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are characterized, in varying degrees, by

  • difficulties in social interaction,
  • verbal and nonverbal communication,
  • repetitive behaviors and
  • differences in sensory perception

facts about Autism?

  • Developmental disabilities such as ASD are brain-based, neurological conditions that have more to do with biology than with psychology
  • Not one person with ASD is affected in the same way
  • ASD is usually diagnosed by the time a child is 3 years old
  • ASD is found in every country, every ethnic group, and every socio-economic class
  • Autism is diagnosed four times as often in boys than in girls
  • Children who are diagnosed with ASD need early intervention as soon as possible

What Causes Autism?

ASD is thought to have a genetic component which results in atypical neurological development and functioning. A lot of research is being done to try and find the cause of autism, but as yet there are no definite answers.

  • There is agreement however that autism is no-one’s fault. It is not a parent’s fault that their child has been born with autism.
  • It is NOT a psychological or emotional disorder.
  • It is NOT the result of bad parenting and children with ASD do NOT choose to misbehave. Misbehaviour are often reactions to the environment and are expressions of the difficulties people with ASD experience.

Understanding Autism?

Autism is a lifelong, complex condition that occurs as a result of disordered brain growth, structure and development. 

There are a vast number of ways that a person can manifest their autism and as a result this condition is now more often referred to as “Autism Spectrum Disorder” (ASD).  Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong, extremely complex condition that appears to result from a genetic predisposition that is triggered by environmental factors.

Why is it a problem?

Difficulties we may see in autism

Regardless of the manifestation of Autism Spectrum Disorder, ALL people on this spectrum, are affected in different degrees, by the “Quadrant of Impairments” that causes a disturbance in quality of development in the following areas: –

Language and Communication

40% of people with “Kanner/Classic autism” never speak nor understand verbal communication. Even those across the full spectrum who do have speech, often still have severe problems understanding the normal process of reciprocal communication;

Social Interaction

People with autism, due to the altered chemistry and functioning within the brain, literally cannot fully understand other people’s emotions, reactions and the complexity of social relationships (Mindblind). This can result in people with autism reacting inappropriately by our “normal” standards, thus being shunned by society, which sadly can then result in these people becoming confused and isolated from those around them;

Imagination and Creative Play

A person with autism usually becomes trapped by rigid thought patterns and behaviours, a limited range of imaginative activities, as well as a poor understanding of day-to-day concepts, jargon and the abstract.

Sensory Disturbances

All people with ASD will have either heightened or lowered sensory perception; this may affect one or more senses.

(Taken from


If you‘ve met one individual with autismyou‘ve met one individual with autism

Dr Stephen Shore