What is ASD?

So you or your child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)—but what does that actually mean?

While you should refer to your treating professional(s) for specific advice, in general a diagnosis of ASD typically is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.

No two people with ASD are alike however—they, like all of us, are each uniquely different from one another.

Our aim at Gold Foundation is to recognise this neurodiversity and provide a platform and community where young autistic people can thrive.

It’s about creating a sense of belonging and harnessing individual abilities, as although a diagnosis of ASD can lead to challenges in some areas in can also lead to advantages in others.

Life with ASD does not have to be a negative as those diagnosed can, and do, live full and happy lives, especially with early intervention.

ASD is usually characterised by:

  • Difficulty with social interactions and communication
  • Restrictive or unusual interests but heightened focus on those interests
  • Reduced ability to see ‘the big picture’, instead focusing on smaller details
  • Possible motor clumsiness and handwriting difficulties
  • Potential hypersensitivity to auditory, visual or tactile experiences
  • Difficulty with executive functioning skills such as time management, organisational skills and explaining ideas verbally
  • Difficulty with sarcasm, deception and idioms (e.g. “It’s raining cats and dogs”)
  • Often seen as the ‘rule police’—they can tell everyone what to do, but can struggle to do it themselves
  • Risks of anxiety and/or depression (particularly if undiagnosed)

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