Understanding autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (autism) is a lifelong developmental condition that affects the way a person relates to his or her environment and their interaction with other people.

The term 'spectrum' describes the range of difficulties people on the autism spectrum may experience and the degree to which they may be affected. The main areas of difficulty are in social communication, social interaction and restricted or repetitive behaviours and interests.

Facts about autism spectrum disorder

An estimated one in 70 people has autism; that’s almost 230,000 Australians. Autism affects almost four times as many boys than girls.

People on the autism spectrum may also have:

  • unusual sensory interests such as sniffing objects or staring intently at moving objects
  • sensitivities to noise including avoiding everyday sounds and textures such as hair dryers and vacuum cleaners
  • intellectual impairment or learning difficulties

Common signs of autism spectrum disorder

Autism describes a cluster of symptoms, where no two people are identical. It is very important to treat people with autism as individuals, and to examine and explore what they can do, and what they are capable of learning.

Everybody with autism is different, but each person with autism has elements of three things in common. These are:

  • Difficulty relating to people, including avoiding eye contact and physical contact
  • Strong interest in a particular item, hobby or skill
  • Repetitive behaviours including clapping or hand flicking

How can CPL help?

While there is no cure, people with autism can often benefit from a range of therapies which can provide positive outcomes to people of all ages.

CPL’s allied health professionals (Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, and Social Workers) can support people with autism to:

  • Work on your mobility and physical activity
  • Increase your ability to use your voice to communicate
  • Explore alternative means of communication
  • Support with the development of language and literacy skills
  • Manage mealtime abilities
  • Develop strategies to help regulate and process emotions and sensory input
  • Identify, trial and prescribe assistive technology/adapted equipment
  • Develop strategies to make and maintain friendships
  • Build skills for interacting with others across all environments
  • Develop play skills


For over 70 years, CPL has been supporting people to chase the best in life. We understand disability and can support you, or someone you care for, at whatever stage of your journey.

For more information about Autism Spectrum Disorder and how we can support you, please call us on 1800 275 753 or send an online enquiry