Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neuro-developmental disorder. It’s a broad diagnosis and will affect each individual with ASD differently! But typically, you will notice differences in behavior, social interactions and communication. Whilst ASD is not a mental health problem or intellectual disability, these challenges may also be present. There is currently no known cause of autism. Research suggests ASD results from changes to brain growth and development, which may be influenced by genetic factors. Whilst research for causes is still ongoing, we are more confident in what does not cause autism – parenting, social circumstances, vaccines or other medical treatments are certainly not to blame!
The characteristics of autism usually start in infancy, but may not be noticeable until the age of 2 or 3 years. Sometimes ASD is diagnosed much later in life. Ideally, however, ASD should be diagnosed early, as research shows early detection and intervention can decrease risk of bullying, abuse, mental health difficulties and social challenges. Conversely, early intervention facilitates communication, social interaction and independence, and draws out the many strengths and interests of people with ASD. Diagnosis is sometimes difficult and can be less reliable for children younger than age 2, as there is no conclusive medical test like blood test that can confirm ASD. A paediatrician, psychiatrist or psychologist can provide a diagnosis by reviewing the individual’s developmental history and behaviour.
Below are some helpful resources with more information about autism. You can also explore our Super Kids website for more information on autism, Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), the different services we offer, guidance on whether intervention is needed, and answers to commonly asked questions.
Information on ASD and Common Myths: https://www.amaze.org.au/wp-
National Autism Hotline: 1300 308 699
Autism Spectrum Australia: https://www.autismspectrum.
Autism Awareness Australia: https://www.autismawareness.
Super Kids acknowledges each individual’s personal preference to use identity-first or person-first language to describe themselves or their loved one. We interchangeably use both language conventions and therefore refer to both autistic children and children with autism.