According to the Australian Psychological Society, autism spectrum disorder is a term used to describe a group of disorders that includes autism, Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder (also known as atypical autism). Autism is the most commonly occurring from of ASD.
ASD is a lifelong neurological, developmental condition that usually appears in the first three years of life. The term spectrum is used because it describes the wide variety and differing levels of severity of symptoms found in children with ASD. For example, some ASD-diagnosed children have good language skills and high cognitive skills, while others are non-verbal and have significant social, cognitive and motor skills challenges. Individuals with ASD have difficulty understanding and processing information about their environment. The main areas that the condition manifests itself are:
- Sensory integration
- Social interaction and communication
- Activities and interests
- Repetitive patterns of behaviour.
For a full discussion on the areas of ASD manifestation, as well as a list of the characteristics of ASD, please see our resource ‘Therapeutic Gardens for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder’. Learn more