Autism is characterised by persistent difficulties in communication and social interaction. It is also characterised by restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests and activities. These may be accompanied by varying degrees of intellectual limitations (including intellectual disability) and functional language. Symptoms and their severity are characterised by wide variability.

Deficits in communication and social interaction

The social communication limitations observed in people on the autism spectrum are manifold. However, they always fall outside the expected range of typical functioning, given the age and developmental level of the child. Characteristic symptoms in this area include:

  • failure/failure to initiate or respond to social interactions initiated by others;
  • insufficient use of eye contact, facial expressions, body posture and gestures to appropriately regulate social interactions;
  • deficits in understanding and using language in social contexts, and lack of ability to initiate and sustain conversation;
  • difficulties in adapting behaviour to different social circumstances;
  • inability to attribute mental states to others;
  • Lack of need to share joys, interests or achievements with others;
  • lack of ability to establish and maintain typical peer relationships.