What is Autism, Aspergers, the Autistic Spectrum?

Finding the Mid Point

There are no behaviours specific to Autism, rather it is a collection of behaviours that together indicate a different way of experiencing the world. Autism is a social communication difference that is developmental and is thought to be lifelong. It is a spectrum as Autism can look very different from one person to the next, with Aspergers or Autism given as a diagnosis depending on when a person develops speech as a child.

A diagnosis of being on the Autistic Spectrum is given to someone who has:

  • Persistent difference in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities (such as software development, becoming a Subject Matter Expert in their field)

We describe it as being off the mid point in certain areas, where the mid point is the socially accepted level of interest or engagement. A person with Autism, for example may talk longer than others or talk less than those around them. There may be a feeling that the person sits outside of the work culture or seems to miss non-verbal cues that others may know intuitively.