Autism Spectrum Australia describes autism as: lifelong developmental disabilities characterised by marked difficulties in social interaction, impaired communication, restricted and repetitive interests and behaviours and sensory sensitivities (ENDNOTE 1).
It is, for many, a very disabling condition that presents substantial challenges for those affected, their families and friends. As noted above, the condition is lifelong, although the social, communication and sensory deficits that some experience may be remediated with the use of intervention therapies and structured support. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed on the basis of behavioural criteria. There is no medical testing available to diagnose these disorders.
This publication aims to present an overview of the prevalence of autism in Australia and the impact the condition has on the everyday lives of those affected by the condition.