The presentations in this section describe the characteristics of autism and how to identify early indications of the condition. It explains the Dyad of impairments which is the diagnostic criteria identified in the DSM 5 and explains the diagnostic terms used. It also gives an insight into the challenges people with autism face in relation to communication and language development, sensory processing, emotional regulation, impaired social skills and rigidity in thinking and how these challenges can cause anxiety and behavioural issues for people on the spectrum. It also looks at how people with ASD have difficulties in understanding the subtleties of social language and social cues and how this can have an impact on friendships and relationships.
It also discusses the emotional challenges for the family and gives practical advice on how to cope with these challenges. Autism is explained for younger children and siblings and worksheets are provided to help reinforce understanding. The presentation also examines the prevalence of autism and the increasing rates over the last number of decades.