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What is Autism?

As we find out more about autism, we have a new perspective on what it really is. Autism can look different in all different people.

Autism is a neurotype, or way of thinking, characterised by the following traits:

Communication differences

  • Tendency to go off on tangents

  • Enjoying talking passionately about deep interests

  • Preference not to engage in small talk

  • Bluntness, telling it how it is, not skirting around the point

  • Differences in non-verbal communication (e.g. stimming while talking, looking at something else while talking, tendency to rely on words (rather than facial expressions) when speaking)

Repetitive behaviours and interests

Hypo- or hyper-sensitive reactions to sensory stimuli

A person can be autistic with or without an associated cognitive, executive functioning and language difficulties.


These traits sound familiar...

If your child presents with some of these traits (or all of them), it would be worth following up with a paediatrician to seek a diagnosis so that your child receives support that can benefit their development.

There is also a free tool, called ASDetect which is endorsed by LaTrobe university. This app is evidence based and asks a series of questions about traits that are associated with autism. This can help you decide whether to seek a diagnosis.


Autistic people can face substantial barriers to their learning, participation, and wellbeing. These barriers arise from societal factors, such as a lack of accessible environments that accomodate for these differences. We can support autistic children by supporting them to learn about themselves and their autism, and helping others learn about autism and what adjustments can be made to support autistic children in different environments.


Autistic people also have unique strengths and ways of thinkung that are valuable in all walks of life. Some great examples of autistic people who have gone on to have great success include:

Dan Aykroyd – Actor and film writer

Aykroyd is a comedic actor famous for his acting role and writing of the movie Ghostbusters released in 1984. His deep interests have included ghosts and law enforcement, which allowed him to write such a successful film!

Jerry Seinfeld – Comedian

Jerry Seinfeld is thought to be one of the most popular comedians of all time. He identifies as autistic and attributes his unique way of thinking literally to his autism.

Satoshi Tajiri – Creator of Pokemon

Tajiri was fascinated with bugs as a child and expanded upon his interest in adulthood by creating Pokemon. His deep interest allowed him to produce something truly thought out and creative.

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