Family Services

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are conditions that affect the nervous system. They are present at birth and manifest in a variety of ways. Some children are only mildly affected. Others are more severely affected and may not be able to speak.

There are different types of autism:

  • Autistic Disorder – usually present before age three;
  • Atypical Autism – children are not usually mentally impaired;
  • Asperger Syndrome – usually no delay in language or mental processes; and
  • Childhood Distintegrative Disorder – young children begin to lose their language, social skills and ability to understand.

The first signs of autism are usually noticeable between 12 – 24 months of age. Signs may include lack of movements and language – for example, no waving or eye contact, or no babbling or answering to his/her name. Children with autism may also have poor social interaction prefer to play alone and do repetitive activities.

If you suspect a child has autism, it is important to contact your local health care provider to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. Research shows the best results are made when a child is diagnosed before the age of six.

(Reference: The Offord Centre for Child Studies – Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Resources

Autism Spectrum Disorder (Offord Centre PDF)

Links

Autism Canada Foundation

Autism Society Canada

Autism Speaks Canada

Centre of Knowledge on Healthy Child Development

Health Canada – About Autism Spectrum Disorders


Books in Your Community

The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (and Their Parents), Elizabeth Verdick and Elizabeth Reeve.

Squirmy Wormy: How I Learned to Help Myself, Lynda Farrington Wilson.