What is autism?

     by Inovar Autismo

Autism, or Autism Spectrum, is characterized by a change in neurological development, which begins in childhood but affects development throughout life (Frith, 2003). It involves a number of difficulties in different areas, including communication, social interaction and behavior. Some emotional, cognitive, motor and sensory difficulties may also be involved (Whitman, 2019). Autism is expressed in different ways in different people. The most important thing is that each person is recognized as a person.

Autism is not a disease, but rather a neurological developmentcondition, in which there is a difference in the level of information processing. This means that the autistic brain has developed in a different way. In this way, the autistic brain may have more difficulty filtering out some sensory information, including noises, lights, smells, and therefore has to make an additional effort to process everything at the same time.

Some strategies that may help and that may also be strengthened at school:

1) Be informed about autism, but focus on your child’s need and not on the label. There’s a lot of information out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But every child with autism is different. So focus on what you need to do to support your child and their needs at every stage of your trip, and take it one step at a time.

2) Your child has his own unique personality, just like any other child. Love your son for who he or she is, and don’t think they don’t love him, even if they don’t say it or ask for caresses. You are the center of their universe.

3) Enjoy all your child’s victories, no matter how small it is. Focus on what they can do. Work with your child’s strengths and accept their special interests. Try not to make any comparations with other children.

4) Consider integrating your child from an early age by attending school services and activities.  Do not be put off if your child is the only autistic child there. It is not up to your child to ‘integrate’; it should be up to the activity and the school to accommodate your child.

5) Use the tastes of the autistic person and find visual strategies and involve them in solving problems so that they feel that their contribution is important. Features: social stories; visual cues; anticipate possible routine breaks.  These strategies can be interesting to be discussed with teachers.

Other useful questions on Family Island


  • Silva, F. G. A. D. (2021). “Ser diferente é normal”: a expressividade do self de pessoas autistas em mídias sociais da internet e suas lutas por reconhecimento.
  • Vasconcelos, V. C. (2022). Meninas e mulheres com Transtorno do Espectro do Autismo: diagnósticos, reconhecimentos e vivências.
  • Whitman, T. L. (2019). O desenvolvimento do autismo. M. Books Editora.