A resource to support good mental health and wellbeing for the people of Qatar
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Autism Spectrum Disorder

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:

  • Difficulties in social interaction, for example, recognizing and understanding other people’s feelings and managing their own
  • Difficulties in social communication, for example, using and understanding verbal and non-verbal language, such as gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice, verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Difficulties in social imagination, for example problems in understanding and predicting other people’s intentions and behavior and imagining situations outside their own routine​
  • Repetitive patterns of behavior and narrow, intense interests and activities. People with autism often prefer to have a fixed routine and can find change incredibly difficult to cope with. Most individuals have sensory processing difficulties, with hyper- or under-sensitivity, for example, to sounds, touch, taste, smell, light or colors.

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.

For more information about mental health in Children & Adolescents click here

“Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how an individual communicates with others and how they perceive the world around them. The right support at the right time will help them lead happier and more meaningful lives."​​​​