Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex condition that impacts normal brain development and affects a person's social relationships, communication, interests and behaviour.

Because ASD is a spectrum disorder, there is wide variation in how it affects each person. Individuals with ASD vary widely in their needs, skills and abilities but most have common types of characteristics including:

  • difficulties with communication and social interaction
  • repetitive interests and activities
  • unusual attachments to objects or routines

The effects of ASD may not be visible to most people.

Possible Signs of ASD

If you think your child may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, please read through the following list of possible signs of ASD (adated from First Signs). Your child does not need to demonstrate all of these behaviours in order to be referred for an assessment.

  • seems disinterested in sharing enjoyment with others
  • does not speak, or uses very few words
  • appears to understand very little
  • may seem deaf or does not respond when name is called
  • has unusual sensitivity to light or sound
  • may walk on his or her toes
  • when excited, may flap hands
  • may not make eye contact as other children do
  • may resist cuddles and hugs
  • has frequent tantrums when required to do anything new or when asked to change activities without advance warning
  • does not point to show you interesting things
  • does not engage in make-believe play
  • may line up toys and obsess on strange objects
  • does not show objects to others
  • does not look where you are pointing
  • like things to be done the same way all the time
  • exhibits loss of social play or language skills

Please note that these may also be indicators of other conditions.

In this section . . .

Parents will find helpful information on assessment and diagnosis and autism funding programs. You will also find detailed information on the Parent's Handbook, your responsibilities associated with receiving Autism Funding, best practices, forms and an FAQ. There is also useful resources for service providers and publications and resources.