Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects, among other things, the way an individual relates to their environment and how they interact with others.
Autism can present very differently in children, and the word Spectrum is used because of the wide-ranging level of difficulties that children may experience and the degree to which they may be affected. Some children need little assistance while others have learning challenges that require continued specialist support.
Typically, the most common areas of difficulty for children are in:
- social communication
- social interaction
- restricted or repetitive behaviours and interests
- unusual sensory interests, such as sniffing objects or intently watching moving objects
- sensory sensitivities such as an aversion to everyday sounds and textures, and
- intellectual impairment or learning difficulties
Further reading: How ASD is diagnosed