About Autism


  • Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them. Children and adults with autism are unable to relate to others in a socially meaningful way.
  • Autism occurs in differing degrees of severity and in a variety of forms. The term's Spectrum and/or Continuum of disorders are commonly used to group people together that have a shared difficulty in making sense of the world.
  • People with autism have difficulty developing friendships. This is because their capacity to understand other people's feelings is impaired.
  • People with autism can often have accompanying learning disabilities. There is also a condition called Asperger's syndrome, which many experts believe falls at the higher-functioning end of the autistic spectrum.
  • All people with autism have impairments in social interaction, social communication and imagination. This is referred to as the triad of impairments:
  1. Social interaction (difficulty with social relationships, for example appearing aloof and indifferent to other people);
  2. Social communication (difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, for example not really under-standing the meaning of gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice); and
  3. Flexibility in thinking and behaving (difficulty in the development of play and imagination, for example having a limited range of imaginative activities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively).

  • Whilst autism, as a term, was only defined 50 years ago, it has probably been a part of the human condition throughout history.
  • Autism occurs on average in four times as many males as females; 17 males to 1 female for high functioning/Asperger syndrome; 1 male to 1 female for profound learning disabilities.
  • Autism is a life-long disability with a need for correspondingly life-long support in most cases.


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