Autism Spectrum Disorders
What are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)?
ASDs include autism, Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.
People who have an ASD experience difficulties with social interaction and language and communication, and have a tendency to have routines and ritualised behaviours.
In general, many people will have a few features, or ‘traits’ of the characteristics of ASDs, but when many of these traits occur together in one person and cause substantial difficulties, someone may be given a diagnosis of an ASD. People with ASDs can also have associated problems such as sensory hypersensitivities, anxiety and physical problems.
Estimates can vary widely, but ASDs affect around 1% of the population. They affect boys much more often than girls. Symptoms usually become apparent in early childhood, although this is variable. Sometimes parents say they noticed problems from birth. Those with more subtle problems may not receive a diagnosis until later in childhood or in adolescence.