Arthur’s Dream Autism Trust (ADAT)

The Condition

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is caused by differences in how the brain functions. People with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in different ways. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and usually last throughout a person’s life. Autism is present from birth and has an effect on how an individual learns. It is usually diagnosed by 3 years of age and continues through adulthood. Individuals with autism often have difficulty with communication skills, social skills, and reasoning

Symptoms

Symptoms of autism vary widely. Since symptoms of autism vary widely, it is often referred to as a spectrum disorder. The term spectrum in ASD means that each person can be affected in different ways, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. People with ASD share some similar symptoms, such as difficulties with social interaction, difficulties with communication, and highly focused interests and/or repetitive activities. How the symptoms affect a person’s functioning depends on the severity and combination of those symptoms

Characteristics

ASD is characterised by impairments in three areas of development and functioning. These areas, referred to as the triad of impairments include; social interactionverbal and nonverbal communication and restricted and repetitive interests, behaviour, and routines. These impairments are usually present before the age of three and features can vary markedly. The child’s age and level of intellectual functioning also impacts on the behavioral presentation[5]. However, almost all children with ASD exhibit some of the following features as elaborated in Figure 1 below.