By: Access Autism


Autism is not me. Autism is just an information processing problem that controls who I am”

 – Donna Williams, author of ‘Nobody, Nowhere’ and ‘Somebody, Somewhere’

People with Autism have difficulties in communicating and forming relationships with people, in developing language and in using abstract concepts.  It also impacts on their ability to make sense of the world around them.

Autism is described as a ‘spectrum’ disorder. This means that the symptoms and characteristics of Autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations and can range from mild to severe. Two people with the same diagnosis can act very differently from one another and have varying skills. Autism Spectrum Disorder is also referred to as ASD.

Autism is often referred to as the ‘hidden’ disability because people who are on the Autism spectrum show no significant physical difference to their peers, rather it is their behaviours that mark them out as different.  People with Autism have difficulty in the areas of:

  • Social Communication
  • Fixated interests and repetitive behaviour
  • Sensory sensitivities

The current rate of autism in Ireland is 1 in 100.

Scientists are not certain what causes Autism but research into Autism and genetics has shown that it is likely Autism is genetically pre- determined. However, research is on-going to determine which genes may be relevant and to what degree environmental ‘triggers’ may be involved in the increase in incidence.

It is possible that there is not one cause for Autism but that there are several factors involved.  The theory that a way a child was parented was in any way a cause of Autism has long been dismissed.