ASD can cause a wide range of symptoms, which are grouped into three categories:
- problems and difficulties with social interaction – including lack of understanding and awareness of other people’s emotions and feelings
- impaired language and communication skills – including delayed language development and an inability to start conversations or take part in them properly
- unusual patterns of thought and physical behaviour – including making repetitive physical movements, such as hand tapping or twisting (the child develops set routines of behaviour and can get upset if the routines are broken).
There is currently no cure for ASD. However, a wide range of treatments, including specialist education and behavioural programmes, can help improve symptoms.
In England, it is estimated that one in every 100 children has an ASD. The conditions are more common in boys than girls. Boys are three to four times more