Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental condition that impacts typical brain growth. As a spectrum disorder, ASD has a wide variation in how it affects each person (their needs, skills and abilities). However there are some common characteristics including difficulties with communication and social interactions, repetitive interests and activities, and stereotypic motor behaviours.
ASD occurs in approximately 1 in every 110 births, and may appear during the first three years of life. It is four to five times more common in boys than girls — affecting 1 in every 70 boys — and is the most common neurological disorder in children. Given the 1 in 110 prevalence rate, it is estimated that there are approximately 40,000 people affected by ASD in BC – 8,600 under the age of 19 and 31,400 adults.
The cause, or causes, of ASD are still unknown and, for now, there is no cure.
There are effective treatment and intervention methods that can help individuals, and their families, address the characteristics of the disorder. Early interventions based on best practices are intended to help children with ASD to develop skills, to learn to communicate effectively, to share in family life, and to enjoy success at school.
Children and parents can benefit from intervention and community supports and with this assistance an increasing number of adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder may be able to live independently.