Autism Spectrum Disorders

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder affects a person's ability to interpret the world and what is happening around them. It is a disorder of development that affects:

Language skills – understanding and using spoken language and non-verbal communication such as facial expressions and body language may be difficult.

Social behaviour – they have trouble understanding social interactions, which affects their ability to play or interact with others.

Cognitive and thinking skills – thinking may be difficult and they may engage in restricted, obsessive or repetitive behaviour.

The term ASD is used to refer to the group of pervasive developmental disorders which include classical autism, Asperger syndrome, and those with similar features affecting children which do not fit into these diagnostic categories.

Every person with ASD is different. They might have:

  • severe problems in each area
  • mild problems in each area
  • more difficulty in one or two areas


These difficulties will vary as they age. They also depend on factors such as their gender, personality, family and cultural circumstances, and intellectual ability.