Key Areas of Difference

Autism is characterised by observable differences in social communication and behaviour. These observable characteristics occur as a result of neurological differences in information processing and sensory perception. This section describes the key differences that a child on the autism spectrum may experience and display in the middle years.

If a child with autism is experiencing challenges during the middle years, understanding these differences is a key factor in providing appropriate and effective support and thus unlocking their potential as productive and aspiring adolescents.

Social Communication

Young people on the autism spectrum are just as likely as their typically developing peers to enjoy engaging with others in activities that interest them. Difficulties with social communication are however a diagnostic criterion for autism and they present in a spectrum of ways.

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People with autism have key differences in the areas of behaviour which is characterised by sensory sensitivities, fixated interests and repetitive behaviour.

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Information processing

In order to understand how a young person on the autism spectrum experiences the world it is important to understand how he/she processes information.

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Sensory Differences

A young person with autism’s sensory experience of the world can have a profound effect on their life.

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