Autism is a complex disorder of brain development that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It also affects how a person makes sense of the world around them. It is a ‘spectrum condition’ that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by:
First signs typically appear during early childhood. The diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is confirmed based on analysis of all behaviors and the severity of the impact of impairments within the individual’s environments.
Some characteristics of individuals can be seen as either ‘difficulties’ or ‘qualities’ depending on how ASD-friendly the environment is; for example, an absorbing special interest in how video games work can become a special skill and basis for employment.
ASD can also be associated with other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination, additional mental health problems and physical health issues such as epilepsy, gastrointestinal disturbances and sleep problems.
Concerns about increasing demand for services along with public and professional awareness of ASD led to development and launch of Qatar's first National Autism Plan in April 2017. The plan aims at improving the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and their families.
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