What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is a broad term used to describe the range of developmental disabilities on the autism spectrum, including autism, high functioning autism ,Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified) .

ASD typically appears during the first three years of life, although it is often not diagnosed until much later, especially in the case of high functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
Girls with ASD are also typically diagnosed later as they present with slightly different symptoms to boys.

Autism is not a disease, but a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. Although the cause is unknown, research indicates it is possibly a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Three out of four children diagnosed with ASD are male.

The difficulties experienced by people with ASD fall into three main areas, commonly known as the ‘triad of impairments’.

These impairments are in the areas of

Communication, Social interaction, and Imagination. In addition to the triad impairments people with ASD almost always have difficulty with sensory processing- dealing with the input received through their senses.

Each person on the autism spectrum has a varying degree of difficulty in these three areas, depending on their personality, intelligence and place on the spectrum.