Everything You Need to Know About Autism Spectrum Disorder

young child doing homework

What is Autism?

Autism, sometimes known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disease that has a variety of effects on people. It is characterized by difficulties communicating and interacting with others, as well as by repetitive behaviours or narrow interests.


The Autism Spectrum

Since autism is a spectrum condition, it can manifest in a variety of ways and affect different people differently. Autism affects each person differently, and this can result in a wide range of strengths, difficulties, and support requirements. While some with autism may struggle greatly in a variety of disciplines, other people with autism may show outstanding talent in areas like arithmetic, music, painting, or visual thinking.

How Waystone Helps You with Learning & Coping Skills

Our experience enables us to offer clients a straightforward process to recovery. Having said that, you can rest assured that we do not use a cookie-cutter approach but rather treat each client with the individualized care and attention that you deserve.

1 icon
book an appointment icon

Book an Appointment
With Us

Now that you’ve gotten to know us,
why not schedule an appointment
to get the journey started?

2 icon
friends icon

Start the Assessment

We begin by running a series of
tests that are highly effective in
assessing strengths & challenges.

3 icon
growth icon

Identify Areas for Individual
and/or Workplace Learning

The assessments help us proceed,
working on areas that will lead to
better coping at work, school or life.

4 icon
functional icon

Improve Functioning at
Home, School, and Work

We’ll do a deep dive together,
isolating specific challenges and
finding effective solutions.

teenagers doing school project

Understanding Autism’s Causes

There is still much to learn about the precise etiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The development of autism, however, may be influenced by a number of genetic, environmental, and neurological variables, according to research. It is crucial to remember that intricate interactions between several variables, rather than one single element, are what produce autism.

Genetic Factors

  • Inherited Genetic Variations: Autism risk may be increased by specific parentally transmitted genetic variants. Studies have uncovered certain genes and gene variants linked to an elevated risk of ASD. However, only a small percentage of autism cases may be attributed to these genetic variants.
  • Gene-Environment Interactions: It is thought that genetic and environmental variables interact to impact the emergence of autism. The expression of characteristics associated with autism may be influenced by the interaction of genetic vulnerabilities and environmental circumstances, including prenatal exposures or early life events.

Environmental Factors

  • Prenatal and Perinatal Variables: According to several research papers, a number of prenatal and perinatal variables may raise the likelihood of developing autism. These elements include illnesses in pregnant women, exposure to certain drugs or toxins, maternal obesity, and birth difficulties. It is crucial to remember that not all people with these characteristics go on to acquire autism, and not all people with autism have encountered these factors.
  • Environmental Exposures: A number of environmental exposures, including pesticides, poisons, and air pollution, have been investigated as possible risk factors for autism. More study is required to get a greater knowledge of how these environmental influences affect autism, as this is still an active field of research.
a young boy sitting in a circle on the floor in class

Neurological Factors

  • Brain Connectivity and Development: According to research, abnormal brain connection and development may contribute to the emergence of autism. The difficulties in social communication, sensory processing, and repetitive behaviours seen in ASD patients may be brought on by differences in the structure, organization, and connection of the brain.
  • Neurochemical Imbalances: Some autistic people have been shown to have changes in neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine. These neurochemical imbalances might be a factor in ASD-related behavioural and cognitive abnormalities.
a child undergoing a learning disability assessment

Key Characteristics of Autism

  • Social Interaction Challenges: Social interaction and establishing connections can be challenging for those with autism. They could have trouble reading social signs, reading body language, and reading facial emotions.
  • Communication Barriers: Language development may be delayed or difficult for people with autism. Some people may not be able to speak and rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools or sign language as a method of communication.
  • Repetitive Behaviors and Restricted Interests: Many autistic people exhibit repetitive behaviours or have deep, specialized interests. These habits might appear as repeated motions of the body (such as hand flapping or rocking), an insistence on sameness, strict adherence to routines, and laser-like focus on one thing or another.
  • Sensitivity to the Senses: Autism spectrum disorders can cause either increased or reduced sensitivity to sensory input. They could experience sensory overload because they are too sensitive to specific noises, lighting, textures, or odours. In contrast, some people may want sensory stimulation to control their sensory experiences, such as spinning or hand flapping.
mother and son learning online

Techniques for Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are treated using a comprehensive, person-centred strategy that takes into account each patient’s particular requirements, abilities, and difficulties. Enhancing communication abilities, social connections, adaptive behaviours, and general quality of life are the main goals of ASD therapies that are effective. Treatment techniques should be supported by evidence and include tactics that have been validated by research.

  • Applied Behaviour Analysis: Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) focuses on teaching and reinforcing preferred behaviours by minimizing problematic behaviours, focusing on teaching and reinforcing preferred behaviours. It creates tailored treatment strategies by applying systematic evaluation and data-driven decision-making.
  • Speech and Language Therapy: For those with ASD who have communication issues, speech and language treatment is essential. Speech therapists seek to enhance verbal and nonverbal communication abilities, including speech comprehension, expressive language, social communication, and pragmatic language abilities.
  • Occupational Therapy: The main goals of occupational therapy are the improvement of daily living abilities, sensory processing, fine motor coordination, and adaptive behaviours. Occupational therapists assist people with ASD in developing their independence and practical skills.
  •  Individualized Education Programs (IEPs): IEPs, or individualized education programs, are detailed plans created for kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in educational settings. IEPs include particular objectives, modifications, and customized support services to promote learning and attend to individual requirements. In order to provide the kid with the best possible learning environment, they entail cooperation between educators, therapists, and parents.
children using technology and wires

Embracing Possibilities and Overcoming Challenges of Autism

A neurodevelopmental disorder like autism might bring particular difficulties, but it doesn’t have to make people’s lives miserable. Individuals with autism are capable of leading happy, meaningful lives with the correct care, understanding, and solutions. The narrative around autism has to be changed in order to place more emphasis on accepting possibilities and encouraging acceptance.

The greatest method to deal with autism and maximize one’s quality of life is to receive therapy for autism spectrum disorders. With our evidence-based approach to evaluation and therapy, the team at Waystone Psychology is a specialist in treating autism. Your first step on the path to recovery is to get in touch with us!