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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is autism?

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    Autism Victoria, trading as Amaze, is a member-based not-for-profit organisation and is the peak body for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in the state of Victoria. View Profile

    The word “autism” can be used to refer to two related concepts – Autistic Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

    Autism in the context of Autism Spectrum Disorder is a family of disorders, characterised by a triad of impairments in the areas of 1) social interaction, 2) communication and, 3) behaviour. How these impairments manifest varies greatly between the disorders on the spectrum and within the disorders themselves, so that two people with autism may be very different from each other, but features of the triad are always present in some form.

    Autism in the context of Autistic Disorder is one of the conditions on the spectrum. Sometimes it is called “classic autism”. It is characterised by delays in developing language, as well as difficulties with non-verbal communication, repetitive, restrictive patterns of behaviour, stereotyped interests, and sensory issues. Some people with Autistic Disorder have intellectual disabilities, but not all.

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