Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD, is a disorder that occurs across the lifespan, but is most commonly first recognised during childhood.  This disorder typically presents in early childhood with atypical social behaviours, sensory sensitivity, difficulty managing change and transitions, and repetitive or unusual play. These difficulties can create problems with emotion regulation and development of social relationships, particularly, with other children. There is a large variation in severity of symptoms in children diagnosed with ASD, with some having relatively minor impairment in their everyday functioning to those requiring substantial support.

Difficulties common in those with ASD can include:

  • Difficulty making and maintaining friendships 

  • Reduced interest in interacting with others

  • Extreme distress at times of change or transition

  • Sensory issues (e.g. difficulty with clothing textures, food fussiness)

  • Unusual or intense interests (e.g. extreme interest in dinosaurs, trains, planes or animals)

  • Interrupting/Making inappropriate Comments

  • Repetitive play

  • Use of overly formal language

  • Lack of understanding of  'social etiquette'

  • Difficulty recognising humour or sarcasm

  • Rigid adherence to rules, and strong sense of justice/equity

  • Behavioural issues/Tantrumming

  • Anxiety

However, it is important to note that not all children exhibit all symptoms. And, in fact, children with ASD can present extremely different from one another. It is also recognised that girls and boys also present with varied symptoms, with ASD in girls often unrecognised until late childhood/early adolescence. 

The Assessment of ASD involves interviews and information-collecting from parents, teachers and any other important people in the child’s life, in addition to observation of the child in-session completing a variety of tasks.