What Is ASD?

 

  • Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is behaviourally described, affecting children and adults.
  • 1/68 children are affected by autism in the US. Numbers in Canada are uncertain.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by observed challenges in socialization, speech and communication (including non-verbal communication) and repetitive/restrictive behaviours.
  • Aside from the formal description of what autism is, sensory challenges are almost always present. A person can be under or over sensitive to one or all senses: smell, touch, vision, taste or hearing.
  • There is mounting medical evidence that many other bodily systems are also affected by autism. E.g.: gastric issues, motor challenges.
  • ASD change the way the brain processes information and can affect all aspects of a person’s development.
  • Each individual is unique – no one person with ASD responds or behaves exactly like another with the same diagnosis.
  • It is called a ‘spectrum’ because some people are mildly affected by symptoms, while others are more severely affected.
  • Autism typically appears during the first 3 years of life.
  • Autism is a life-long condition. However, it is not a degenerative condition.
  • With therapy and support, many people experience less symptoms and gain many skills and abilities as they develop and grow, like anyone else.
  • Some people with ASD have high IQ while others have cognitive delays.
  • Autism can gives a person a very unique way of experiencing the world, there are advantages and benefits as well as challenges to being ‘on the spectrum’.