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What is Autism?

Responding to your child’s diagnosis of autism

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioural challenges.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

According to recent studies+, one in 63 Australian children between the ages of 6 to 12 have a diagnosis of ASD. Children with ASD communicate, interact, behave, and learn differently.

From gifted to severely challenged

The word spectrum relates to the many symptoms of autism that can present in varying degrees of severity. This means that any two children with the same diagnosis, can present very differently from one another.

Typical behaviours

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children with autism spectrum disorders often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. Typical behaviours include:

  • difficulty in expressing their needs using typical words or motions
  • having little or no interest in other people
  • avoiding eye contact and wanting to be alone
  • not pointing at objects to show interest
  • not looking at objects when you point at them
  • preferring not to be held or cuddled
  • being unresponsive when people talk to them
  • repeating or echoing words or phrases said to them, or repeating words or phrases in place of normal language
  • repeating actions over and over again
  • having trouble adapting when a routine changes
  • having unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
  • stop saying words they were once using

Is there a cure?

While there is no single cure for autism, early intervention in the form of ABA therapy can bring about meaningful and positive change in behaviour for children with autism.

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+ The number of people who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues to rise in Australia with 31% of NDIS participants, the largest disability group in the scheme according to recent NDIS Quarterly Report issued in 2015. Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) in 2012 observed that at least 1 in 63 Australian school children has a formal autism diagnosis and was registered to receive Carer Allowance (child). The US Government's Centre for Disease Control reported similar data in 2010 reporting that on average 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism in the USA.