Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects, the way an individual relates to his or her environment and their interaction with other people.
The word 'spectrum' describes the range of difficulties that people on the autism spectrum may experience and the degree to which they may be affected. Some people may be able to live relatively normal lives, while others may have accompanying learning challenges and require continued specialist support.
The main areas of difficulty are in social communication, social interaction and restricted or repetitive behaviours and interests.
People on the autism spectrum may also have:
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 & sand.
Intellectual impairment or learning difficulties.
An estimated 1 in every 70 people in Australia is on the autism spectrum. Along with their family members, this means autism is a part of daily life for over a million Australians.
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that impacts how a person understands, communicates with and relates to others and the world around them.
Because the challenges autism presents are primarily neurological, sometimes autism is referred to as a ‘hidden disability’.
While people with autism share certain characteristics, the word ‘spectrum’ reflects the broad range of highly individual challenges, needs and preferences that people with autism have.