What is Autism?

Autism awareness symbol

Autism, or the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a spectrum condition meaning that individuals with autism will have a wide range of strengths and challenges. Though some individuals with autism will be able to operate independently, others will need support throughout their lives.

There is a lot of research and support for people with autism, but when it is new to you or your family, it is difficult to know how to get started. Here are a few resources that can act as good starting points. See our Autism Resources for more information.

Teaching Students with Autism: A Guide for Educators
This guide published by the National Education Association offers information on how to create an inviting and supportive learning environment for students with autism, how to support individual needs, includes examples of adapted material to meet individual needs, and provides a list for further resources.

Ready to dig in deeper? Take a look at our Autism Resources!


Common Misconceptions

"People with autism do not experience a full range of emotions"
Though people with autism may have difficulty recognizing and interpreting their emotions, they do experience a full range of emotions.

"People with autism do not want friends"
Because people with autism often struggle to socially engage with others it can be very difficult for them to make friends, but they do want to have friends.

"All people with autism have a savant skill"
While all people with autism have strengths, the majority of people with autism do not have a savant skill.

"Vaccinations cause autism"
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is absolutely no link between vaccines and autism.

Celebrate Autism!: Books Featuring Characters with Autism