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autism; autistic; Kanner; spectrum; disorder; language; communication; asperger; disability; savant;


Autism occurs in people from all cultures and countries. Autism is a lifelong disorder that affects at least 1 in 1000 people. It affects more boys than girls (approximately 4 boys for every 1 girl).

People with autism have problems with communication, social interaction, imagination and repetitive activities.

What is autism?

Autism is a type of developmental disorder. This means that children with autism develop their learning and thinking skills in unusual ways and at different ages to other children.

  • Autism always affects the development of communication skills and social skills.
  • People with autism have repetitive behaviour patterns and obsessive interests.
  • They have trouble accepting changes in their life.
  • Autism can affect their thinking skills, especially reasoning and imagination.
  • About 75% of children with autism also have intellectual disability.

Autism is not a disease or an illness. 

  • People do not 'catch' it nor do they 'recover' from it.
  • People with autism are affected throughout their lives. However, the effects change as people get older, especially if they are helped with their learning.

Autism is usually present from birth, but may take a long time to be recognised and diagnosed. 

Parents do not cause autism, but because their child is so different to other children, they interact with their autistic child very differently, and it may look as though they are not very loving towards their child. It is hard to relate to someone who does not appear to hear you, who does not look at you, who does not like to be held, and who often screams or has tantrums for no obvious reason.

More infomation

Topic on the Parenting and Child Health section of this site Autism.

MedlinePlus (National Libraries of Medicine USA) 


South Australia

  • Autism Association of South Australia Inc
    1300 288 476
  • Disability South Australia - provides information, support and services to people with intellectual and physical disability and their families.
    Tel. 1300 786 117
  • Disability Information Resource Centre - provides contact details of a number of support groups for individuals with physical disabilities.
    Address: 195 Gilles Street, Adelaide, 5000
    Tel. 82360555, TTY 8223 7579 Country callers: 1300 305 558


Further reading

Links to further information can be found in the topic Autism on the Parenting and Chlld Health section of this website.

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