What Is Autism?

The Reality

Autism is a neurological difference or variation.

Autism affects the way an individual experiences the world around them (see below).

We are parents, children, work mates, friends; our unique viewpoints and experiences add to the tapestry of daily life.

A famous Autistic author once said,

“Without Autism, we’d all be sitting around in caves socialising and not getting anything done!”


The Science

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental neurological condition which effects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. This may present as difficulty reading non-verbal cues, responding appropriately or misunderstanding social situations.

In addition, those with Autism exhibit restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities.

Many people with Autism are very dependent upon routines and structure. This need for predictability can impact on coping with changes in their environment and lead to extreme distress. This may also manifest as repetitive movements or speech patterns.

The objects of restricted interests are often unusual and/or intense.

The processing of sensory input can also be altered in a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder. They may show over-responsivity (Hypersensitivity) or under-responsivity (Hyposensitivity) in some or all of the body’s eight sensory systems.

Autism is a SPECTRUM – a continuum with some individuals showing mild symptoms and others being more severely impacted.

Thankfully, there are many supports available that can improve quality of life outcomes for those on the Spectrum.

The ‘Raising Children Network‘ website is an excellent resource for Australian families navigating through the maze of available services.


According to ongoing research which is publically available on the CDC website, the prevalence for Autism continues to increase as research improves and science identifies autism at a much earlier age.

*This is a very brief summary of findings. For greater detail, please visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.