Recognising Autism

Recognising Autism

Autism can be diagnosed within the first three years of life. It is four times more common in boys than in girls. However, certain presentations of autism may not be diagnosed until a child enters primary school, where the main presenting issues may involve difficulty with social interaction and anxiety.

To be given a diagnosis of autism, a person must present with a ‘triad’ of clinical characteristics in the following areas (referencing the criteria in DSM-IV-TR):

  • Social Impairment (Social Interaction)
  • Communication Impairment (Social Communication)
  • Impairment In Flexibility Of Thinking (Flexibility & Imagination)

In addition to the triad of behaviours that characterises autism, other reasons for behaviours commonly associated with the condition are:

  • Cognitive Learning Style
  • Sensory
  • Medical
  • Special Interests
  • Likes and Dislikes


Under the DSM-5, autism is characterised by persistent deficits in social communication and interaction across multiple contexts, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.


It is important to remember that the range of intellectual ability and skills in people on the autism spectrum is considerable. No two people with autism will be the same, adding to the complexity of diagnosis.


Last modified on Thursday, 22 August 2019 10:45