Autism Society NWT
5204 54th Street
Yellowknife, NT X1A 1W8

867.446.0985

president@nwtautismsociety.org

Autism is a lifelong neuro-developmental disorder that affects the way people interact and communicate with those around them. Each child and adult with an ASD is unique and has their own strengths, gifts and support needs. First identified in 1943 by Leo Kanner, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is one of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) of childhood onset.

The symptoms of autism may be present from birth, but they may not be noticed until a child is two or three, when language normally develops. ASD is characterized by difficulties in communication and impairments in social interactions, a unique and restricted range of interests and activities. These neurological characteristics are common to all ASD’s but symptoms can vary widely among individuals. 

Prevalence

It was once thought that Autism occurs approximately in 10 to 12 people per 10,000 but studies have found the incidence to be much greater having increased tenfold over the past few decades. It is not known whether this is simply due to more thorough identification or diagnosis, or to other causes such as environmental influences. According to the Center for Disease Control 1 in 68 children are now identified with being on the Autism Spectrum. It occurs in all races, social and economic conditions globally.

Signs to look for

Early indicators may include:

  • No babbling (stringing sounds together to make sentences) by 12 months of age

  • No gestures (pointing, waving bye-bye, etc.) by 12 months of age

  • No response to their name by 12 months of age

  • No single words by 16 months of age

  • No two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months of age

Difficulties with social interaction:

  • May withdraw from others

  • May not seek attention or actively engage with other people

  • May not follow or try pointing to show interest in something

  • May not turn to respond to their name

  • Communication problems

  • Difficulties in verbal (spoken) and non-verbal (gestures, facial expression, body language) communication. This  may range from no speech at all to full sentences that  are odd in the way they are spoken or their meaning.

  • Speaking style may appear robotic or scripted from