What is ASD?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly known as autism, is a group of complex developmental disorders that affect a person’s ability to socialize, communicate, and understand other peoples’ emotions. Children and adults can both be affected by autism. Though no two people express autism in exactly the same way—which is why the word “spectrum” is used— most have difficulty developing friendships and learning in traditional ways. Across the board, those with ASD struggle to relate to the world around them. Strengths, symptoms, skills, and ability levels vary widely among those with ASD. The term Asperger’s Syndrome is frequently used to describe a milder, higher-functioning form of autism.

ASD relates to three key areas, often known as the “triad of limitations”:

Social Interaction

This includes difficulty with social relationships, an attitude of indifference towards others, a tendency towards isolation, and more.

Social Communication

This includes challenges with both verbal and nonverbal communication, such as not understanding common gestures, facial expressions, tones of voice, etc.


This includes rigid and repetitive behaviors, an inability to think and behave flexibly, and difficulty in developing interpersonal play and imagination.

Early Signs of Autism

Unsure if your young child is showing symptoms of ASD? Autism becomes apparent in infancy and early childhood, usually around 14-18 months of age. Symptoms include:

• Being abnormally quiet and undemanding
• Not responding to affection
• Not making eye contact
• Not responding to familiar voices
• Not showing happiness
• Not using basic gestures of communication
• Being delayed in speech

Early intervention really does make a big difference, so if you suspect that your infant or young child has signs of autism, you should get help as soon as possible.


What Causes Autism?

No one quite knows for sure, despite decades of research. So far, research has shown possible genetic factors as well as various conditions affecting early brain development. Medical professionals and researchers consider it to be a neurobiological condition.

We do know that autism is NOT caused by bad parenting, so we strongly encourage parents to look past any guilt they may feel. We hope that further research will shed more light on the actual causes of ASD.