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What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability. Children and adults with ASD have difficulty with social communication/interaction and exhibit restrictive and/or repetitive patterns of behavior. There is a wide range of ability among people with ASD. Some people with ASD are gifted and others need significant levels of support to ensure their health and well-being. While great strides are being made, there is no known cause, or a known singular effective treatment for ASD.

People with ASD have challenges in the areas of social communication/interaction and restricted/repetitive behaviors. A few examples:

Social Communication/ Interaction

  • Difficulty establishing or maintaining back-and forth conversations and interactions

  • Inability to initiate an interaction

  • Problems with shared attention or sharing of emotions and interests with others

  • Abnormal eye contact, posture, facial expressions, tone of voice and gestures, as well as an inability to understand these

  • Lack of interest in other people

  • Difficulties in pretend play

  • Engaging in age appropriate social activities

  • Problems adjusting to different social expectations.

Restrictive/Repetitive Behavior

  • Stereotyped or repetitive speech, motor movements or use of objects

  • Excessive adherence to routines

  • Ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior

  • Excessive resistance to change

  • Highly restricted interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus

  • Hyper or hypo reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment

No two people with autism are the same. There is no single behavior that is always present in every individual with ASD.

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