Autism Spectrum Disorder


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) describes a group of complex developmental disorders including:

  • Autism
  • High Functioning Autism
  • Asperger Syndrome, and
  • Pervasive Development Disorder-Not Otherwise Stated (Atypical Autism)

with a similar pattern of behaviour in three key areas – communication, social interaction and imaginative thought.

Many people with an ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to sensations.

In some children hints of future problems may be apparent from birth. Others seemingly begin life well enough but between 12 and 36 months the differences in the way they react to people become apparent. Today, 1 in 160 individuals are diagnosed with autism. To date there is no single known cause and no cure for ASD, however recent research has identified strong genetic links, so the consensus is that ASD is caused by a biological or organic dysfunction in the brain.

The word ‘spectrum’ is used because no two people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder are exactly alike. As the term suggests, there is no single diagnosis or label. Rather there are several labels that place people at different points on the spectrum.

Parents of children with an ASD often notice that their child does not respond to their name, gesture or point to objects. Some children also engage in repetitive movements like hand flapping or spinning.

These behaviours can be exhibited by children with autism:

  • Resisting change
  • Difficulty expressing themselves
  • Difficulty interacting with others
  • Rarely or never making eye contact
  • Being over or under sensitive to pain
  • Lacking fear
  • Not responding to verbal cues

Irrespective of the diagnosis or where they fit on the spectrum, each child or adult diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder is developmentally delayed, has significant difficulties participating in day-to-day life and requires sensitive understanding and specialist support and intervention for the best possible outcome.

An ASD diagnosis can be an extremely emotional and anxious time for the family as they search for answers, support and most of all hope. ABA techniques have been proven in many studies worldwide, including Australia as the method of choice in treating children with ASD at any level.


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