Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

Around 1 in 100 children are affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with boys three times more likely to have autism than girls. To understand ASD, it’s important to know that no two people with autism are the same. Characteristics often differ between people on the autism spectrum, but there are common challenges that people with ASD face.

What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex developmental condition that affects the way a person interacts with their environment and the people around them. The effects of ASD differ from person to person, but most people with autism experience challenges with socialising, communication, behaviour and sensory processing. It’s also important to note that the severity of these symptoms vary from person to person.

Characteristics of autism spectrum disorder

Autism differs from person to person but common factors affected by ASD include social communication, behaviour, and sensory processing.

Social communication

It is common for people with ASD to experience challenges with communicating and interacting with others. In particular, people with autism often experience issues with back-and-forth conversation and interpreting social cues such as eye contact and facial expressions.


People with autism often exhibit behavioural issues including: repetitive movements; strict and inflexible adherence to routines; strong reactions to change; and limited, but highly-focused, interest in particular topics.

Sensory processing

People with ASD experience challenges with external sensory stimuli such as sounds, colours, and tactile objects. Atypical reactions to stimuli can include: exaggerated negative responses; being unresponsive or unaware of stimuli that would typically trigger a response; and being preoccupied with certain sensory experiences.

How we support people with autism spectrum disorder

There is no known cause or cure for ASD. However, there are a number of supports available for people with autism and their families so that they can live empowered and fulfilling lives.

At Interaction, we provide services and supports for people with autism and their families that include:

  • Behavioural support therapy
  • Assessment
  • Counselling
  • Sensory room access

More information on our support services can be found on our Behavioural and Allied Health Services page.

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