Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that can affect the way people communicate, learn, behave, and interact socially. It is not a disease, but it can have a significant impact on a person's life. Symptoms of autism can vary widely, but the main characteristics are challenges with social communication, restricted and repetitive behaviors, and atypical and repetitive behaviors. Early intervention is key to helping children with autism handle some of the specific challenges they may face in the world at large.
Every autistic person is unique and no definition can describe an individual or predict what their life will be like. However, understanding the four main characteristics of autism can help parents and caregivers better understand the condition and provide support for those living with it.
Social Communication ChallengesPeople with autism may have difficulty understanding social cues, such as facial expressions or body language. They may also have difficulty understanding verbal communication, such as jokes or sarcasm. Additionally, they may have difficulty initiating conversations or maintaining them.
This can lead to social isolation and difficulty forming relationships.
Restricted and Repetitive BehaviorsPeople with autism may have limited interests or engage in repetitive behaviors, such as rocking back and forth or flapping their hands. They may also become fixated on certain topics or objects and be unable to move on to other activities. These behaviors can be disruptive and interfere with daily functioning.
Atypical and Repetitive BehaviorsPeople with autism may display atypical behaviors, such as avoiding eye contact or responding to questions in an unusual way. They may also engage in repetitive behaviors, such as repeating words or phrases or engaging in self-stimulatory behavior.
These behaviors can be disruptive and interfere with daily functioning.