Autism has two hallmark groups of characteristics, which must be severe enough to cause problems in everyday life, abnormal social interaction or communication, and repetitive behaviours. 

Difficulties with communication and social interaction

Children and adults with autism may show difficulties in initiating communication and responding to others, as well as responding to non-verbal communication cues such as body language, eye contact and facial expressions. Their speech can also be characterised by frequent repetition of certain phrases.

Restricted or repetitive behaviours and interests

To cope with the difficulties they have with communication and social interaction, people on the autism spectrum may develop rigid routines that help them avoid uncertain situations. Repetitive movements are another common and easily observable trait. People with autism also often exhibit particularly intense or focused interests. Finally, intense sensitivity to the surrounding environment can make noisy, bright environments upsetting.

People with autism are often also diagnosed with other conditions, including intellectual disability, depression, anxiety, epilepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.


  What is autism?

  What causes autism?

  Autism treatment

  Diagnosing autism