Characteristics of Autism

People with autism or Asperger syndrome may appear to behave unusually. There will generally be a reason for this: it can be an attempt to communicate, or a way of coping with a particular situation.   Every individual with an Autism Spectrum Condition (Autism) will have different characteristics but generally fall into the Triad of Impairments which can be seen below:

It is not uncommon for a person with an Autistic Spectrum Condition to have an additional diagnosis of some of the following:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
ADHD is a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a sub-type of ADHD.

Dyspraxia, a type of developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), is a disability that affects affects basic motor skills (such as walking or sitting upright) and fine motor skills (such as writing or picking up small objects) in children and adults.

Semantic Pragmatic Disorder:
SPD is a language disorder that affects semantic processing and the pragmatics of language use. Pragmatics refers to the use of language in a social context (knowing what to say and when to say it to people). Semantics refers to the meanings of words and phrases.

Hyperlexia is an exceptional ability to read, not necessarily with any understanding of what is being read.  It can usually be identified at a very early age.

Anxiety Disorder:
AD is a general term that describes fears that are irrational or not based on fact. There are many types of anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, and different phobias. Some people experience these feelings so severely that it interferes with their ability to cope with daily life.

Sensory Processing Disorder/Sensory Integration Dysfunction:
SPD/SID refers to an inability to use sensation effectively to make an appropriate response to fulfill demands from the environment. It can be found frequently but not invariably among children with speech & language delay, behaviour problems, learning disorders, minimal brain dysfunction, more severe neurological disorders such as autism & general developmental delay.

For more information on dealing with the behaviours of ASD/ASC go to our national website:

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