What is autism?

Autism is a condition which affects the way a person responds to the world around them .It is a spectrum of symptoms which appears in infancy and early childhood, causing delays in many basic areas of development, such as learning to talk, play, and interact with others.


Symptoms of Autism

Autism or an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) affects the ability of a person to interact at a social

Some children with autism have only mild impairments, while others have more obstacles to overcome. However, every child on the autism spectrum has problems, at least to some degree, in the following three areas

  • Communicating verbally and non-verbally
  • Relating to others and the world around them
  • Thinking and behaving flexibly

Some Facts About Autism

  • Autism is not an illness or a disease. It means the brain is wired in a different way and works differently than other people
  • Autism affects about one child in every sixty children
  • Around four times as many boys as girls are likely to be diagnosed with autism
  • For a diagnosis of autism, early sign of delayed milestones must be there , like poor response to name, poor to no eye contact, reach out to be picked up, or look at their mothers when being fed.

Example Behaviours

Autism Spectrum


  • Echoing words/phrases without context
  • Taking an adult to the biscuit tin rather than
    asking or pointing
  • Taking language too literally

Social Interactions

  • Preference to play alone
  • Difficulty relating to other people
  • Not understanding other’s thoughts and emotions

Repetitive behaviours

  • Hand flapping
  • Toe walking
  • Spinning wheels

Restrictive behaviour

  • Eating only white food
  • Insisting on walking the same route
  • Only watching specific rhymes and ads



People with autism may or may not have the following:

  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Sensory differences, this is most noticeable when children are over-sensitive to stimuli e.g. distress at loud noises
  • Trouble with co-ordination
  • Unusual eating behaviour such as only eating certain foods
  • Additional learning disabilities
  • A very small percentage have unusual abilities for example with music or memory

What Causes Autism?

At this time, it is not known exactly what causes autism though it is widely believed to be the result of an interaction between environmental and genetic factors. This means that a child can be born with vulnerability toward developing autism which is later triggered by physical factors in their environment.

Can Autism be cured?

Autism is a lifelong condition.

However autism can be treated and with the right intervention at an early stage, most children experience significant improvement in their quality of life and many children learn to function independently in mainstream school.

Autism Ability Centre specialises in helping children who are diagnosed with autism reach their full potential. This intervention works by enhancing intellectual, academic, social and emotional behaviours so that children can take better advantage of educational and social opportunities available in the community.

Early Intensive

Behavioural Intervention

It is now widely accepted that with autism, the earlier the intervention the better.

Autism is a neurological condition affecting the brain. When a child is younger, the brain has much more plasticity (ability to change) and so changing or teaching new behaviour is much easier. From a behavioural point of view, newer behaviours are easier to change than ones with a long history of reinforcement.

What about older children?

We are all able to learn new behaviours over the course of our entire lives and this is no different for people with
autism. The research shows that intensive behavioural intervention can be very effective with older children.