Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neuro-developmental disorder, signs of which begin during early childhood (usually before the age of three) and have a significant impact on the individual’s development in adult life too. Its impact lasts through the person’s life causing serious developmental disabilities.
The neuro-developmental impairments are observed in speech and communication, social interaction, repetitive behaviours and unusual ways of perceiving and processing information – this can hinder carrying out simple day-to-day activities and impede an individual’s educational and social functioning. As autism is a spectrum disorder, it presents itself in a wide variety of combinations, ranging from mild to severe. While autism is defined by a set of behaviours, children and adults with autism can exhibit any combination of the behaviours in any degree of severity. So, two individuals with the same diagnosis will present very differently.