What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

ASD is a complex, lifelong developmental condition, present from birth, that affects how people communicate, interact and understand other people. ASD is a spectrum condition, which means it impacts different people, in different ways, to differing degrees at different times and in different situations.

Some people on the Autism Spectrum may also have co-morbid conditions including learning disabilities, language disorders, ADHD and mental health difficulties, meaning that each person will need different levels of support. With the right support, each person can be helped to live a fulfilling life of their own choosing.

Video provided by the National Autistic Society

How is ASD diagnosed?

ASD is typically diagnosed in early childhood, when children begin to show some of the key traits, as delays in personal development become more noticeable. In order for a formal diagnosis of ASD to be made a person will be assessed as having:

  • Persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction
  • Restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests since early childhood
  • Where these difficulties limit and impair everyday functioning

ASD is typically diagnosed by a multi-disciplinary diagnostic team, usually including a speech and language therapist, paediatrician, psychiatrist and/or psychologist.

What are the benefits of receiving a diagnosis of ASD?

Receiving a timely diagnosis of ASD may be helpful because:

  • It allows the child to access early intervention
  • The child/ young person can access the right services and support
  • The child/ young person can access the right educational support
  • It allows other people to better understand the child/ young person’s needs
  • It allows the child/ young person to better understand themselves

Check out this handy pocket guide on ASD created by As I Am for more information.

If you are worried about your child’s social communication development please contact us at Sparking Speech for a FREE telephone consultation to discuss your concerns.



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