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.

Take the Autism Quotient test


The Autism Research Centre in Cambridge has developed an Autism Spectrum Quotient test. A score of 32-50 indicates your answers may suggest you identify with features of Autism. Should you score within this range then supports for people on the Autistic Spectrum may be useful for you.