What is Autism?

Autism (or ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability. It affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people as well as how they make sense of the world around them.

Autism is a wide-spectrum disorder. This means that though all persons with autism share certain common difficulties, no two will have exactly the same symptoms. Some people will have mild symptoms while others will have severe ones. Some people with autism might be able to live relatively independently while others may require a lifetime of specialist support.

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.

Commonly found characteristics in people with an ASD:

  • Unusual sensory interests such as sniffing objects or staring intently at moving objects
  • Sensory sensitivities including avoiding everyday sounds and textures such as hair dryers, vacuum cleaners and sand
  • Over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours
  • Intellectual impairment or learning difficulties