Autism Spectrum Disorder

You may have heard of someone having autism. You may have friends who have siblings with autism. These children may have odd behaviours though they look normal. You may want to understand or know a little more on autism. The article below may help you understand autism a little better.

What is autism?

Autism is a condition that presents in the first three years of life. There would be problems in the child’s development due to the abnormalities in the way brain develops and works. The severity of the problem ranges from serious problems with inability to communicate and may need specialised care to relatively high functioning with speech and intelligence intact.

The three main areas where the child or person having autism have difficulty with are :

  • Socialising  thus causing difficulties in forming relationship with others

  • Communication

  • Behaviour where they find it difficult to respond appropriately to the environment.

These problems may be noticed a year or two after what appeared to be normal development. Some especially those with high functioning may be diagnosed even later.

How does a person with autism present?

  • A person with autism tend to ignore other people or appear insensitive to others’ needs, thoughts or feelings

  • They do not make eye contact or use facial expression socially

  • They find it difficult to share, cooperate or take turns with others. They prefer their own company and show no interest in imaginative play when they were younger.

  • Making friends with others is hard for them.

  • Having problems communicating is a serious concern. Many would have language problems; both in understanding and speaking. The more severely affected may never learn to speak and if they do they may just echo what they have just heard.

  • They prefer familiar routine and tend to resist change as they find it difficult and unpleasant.

  • They are also very sensitive to tastes, smells and sounds. A normal sound of a fan or vacuum can be a source of significant distress for them.

  • They may have unusual interests like in maps or electronic gadgets

  • They may have odd movements like hand flapping or twiddling of fingers.

  See you tube video: Face of autism

What is the cause of Autism?

Not much is known regarding what causes Autism.  It appears that there may be association to genetics.

How can I help?

It is challenging for families to cope with an autistic child. Being understanding would mean a great deal to these families.

Do not stigmatise people with autism. They are trying to cope with their difficulties.

If you know anybody who may need help or wants to talk to someone about their difficulties in coping with someone with autism you can seek help from a trusted adult or see any health care professionals.

Link NGO in autism:

Parents’ Resource For Autism, Malaysia




Last Reviewed : 26 November 2014
Writer : Dr. Nazrila Hairizan bte. Nasir
Accreditor : Lt. Kol. Dr. Ridzuan bin Azmi