Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that appears early in life, generally before the age of three.

Children with autism may have problems with relating to others, difficulties with communication, and limited imagination. Autistic traits persist into adulthood, but vary in severity.

Asperger syndrome is an autistic spectrum disorder, often referred to as high functioning autism. A key feature of Asperger syndrome is the lack of intuitive ability to adapt socially and fit in with others. Language may be used in a stilted and stereotyped manner. People with Asperger syndrome have no general cognitive delay, meaning their overall IQ is in the normal range or above.

Autistic Spectrum Disorders are characterised by difficulties in three main areas known as 'the triad of impairment':

  • Socialisation
  • Communication
  • Imagination

Possible features

  • Apparent inability to make sense of the world around them
  • Lacking imagination/creativity
  • Inability to understand other people's feelings, thoughts and needs
  • Obsessive interest in one subject/object
  • Repetitive behaviour
  • Difficulty in accepting changes in routine
  • Poor planning and organisational skills
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Impairment in use of non-verbal communication (eg. eye contact, facial expressions, body posture, gestures)

Other conditions which may have autistic features

  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)
  • Global Developmental Delay (GDD)
  • Semantic Pragmatic Disorder
  • Rett syndrome
  • Pathological Demand Avoidance

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