Because of this difference in development, the way in which people living with autism think and process information, their cognitive style, differs to that of the majority of people within the typical population. In particular, this difference of cognitive style effects:
In understanding and responding to the specific needs of people living with autism, it is, therefore, these four areas of developmental difference that are our focus.
At Autism Unlimited we call these the four dimensions of autism.
As a spectrum disorder, the extent of the developmental difference in the four dimensions is wide ranging from very subtle to very severe. The majority of people living with autism are in the normal range of intellectual functioning (a typical IQ). People living with autism are vulnerable to mental health problems such as high stress and anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and mood disorders. Experiencing such mental illness can compound the difficulties and challenges arising from living with autism.
The cause of autism is unknown but there is some evidence of genetic links.