What is Autism?

Autism affects more than 1 in 70 children and adults in Australia*.

It is a developmental condition that is typically life-long. It impacts how a person relates to their environment and how they communicate and interact with other people. Autism is a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees. Signs of autism usually emerge within the first few years of life.

Autistic children and adults can experience challenges with communication, social interaction and restricted/repetitive interests and behaviours. These are often accompanied by sensory issues, such as oversensitivity to sounds, smells or touch. Many children also experience behavioural challenges which impact their ability to get along in everyday life.

Many children experience delayed development across many different areas. Without effective intervention, children can fall further and further behind their peers as they grow older. However, research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for many children. That is why early diagnosis, and early intervention, are key. Because with the right type of education and therapy – children with autism have an amazing ability to learn and grow.

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*The estimated prevalence rate for Australia is based on the most recent autism prevalence studies from the US (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Canada (Public Health Agency of Canada) and Australia (May T, Sciberras E, Brignell A, Williams K et al, 2016.)