About Autism

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.  New 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.

While many children are verbal, some cannot speak and learn to communicate with picture symbols or technology such as iPads. Some individuals with autism have intellectual disabilities or other conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, seizures, anxiety, Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD or ADHD) or phobias.

With compassion and acceptance, intensive structured support and specialized therapies, children with autism can learn and develop, gain many new skills and thrive as contributing members of their families, schools and communities.

At Giant Steps, we are passionate about enabling them to do just that.

The following sites are excellent starting points for learning about ASD:

Autism Speaks   Autism Ontario   Geneva Centre for Autism