Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a lifelong neurological disorder that is typically evident between the ages of 2 and 3 years.
ASD is caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental factors. The word “Spectrum” refers to the wide variety of challenges and strengths experienced by each person with autism in speech and communication, learning, social interactions and behaviour. Every individual with autism is unique, and children with autism grow up to become adults with autism.
The prevalence of autism is growing. Statistics published in March 2018 by the National Autism Spectrum Disorder Surveillance System indicate that 1 in 66 Canadian children are now affected by autism – 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 165 girls.
Children with ASD may have difficulty responding appropriately in different environments, often display repetitive and unusual behaviours and have difficulty coping with changes in routines.