(Beginner's Guide to Autism)

What Are Some Signs and Symptoms of Autism?

Autism is a disability characterized by extremes in behavior and skills. Some of the typical observable features include:

Sensory hyper or hypo sensitivity to various forms of stimulants & textures

Often suspected of deafness

Visually fascinated by lights, shinny objects and spinning

Repetitive activities

Inattentive, distractible and disorganized in play and tasks

Significant language delays

Social impairments

The "Autism Primer" contains 20 frequently asked questions (FAQs) about autistic spectrum disorder/PDD.

Common Characteristics of Persons with Autism

A big help in the road to understanding and acceptance of your child is to listen to adults on the spectrum. Whether it be a lecture at a conference, a book written in the first hand or even the section of our website entitled First and Second Hand Accounts, it is important to try to envision the world as your spectrum child might. In the booklet "How to Understand People Who are Different", author Brad Rand presents the world as it is "seen" by those who are "different". This is totally fascinating!

 "Autism is Not a Terrible Thing" writes author Donna Eustace in this article which presents an entirely positive view on Autism/PDD.

Check out the Autism Society's "Getting Started" Package (note: you will need to download Adobe Acrobat to read this; get your free copy here). You can check out information on the diagnostic criteria, standardized testing, therapy evaluations, checklist, assessments and books at the Autism/PDD Resources Network by clicking on "Diagnosis and Testing" on the right-hand side to the page.

"Autism Checklist"  is presented here, along with the DSM-IV Criteria for all Autistic Spectrum Disorders (PDDs).  Most often, parents suspect their child has a difference before their pediatrician might. 

At the beginning of your journey, please be sure to visit the "Center for the Study of Autism".  You will want to bookmark this site as a favorite, due to all the most current information and the great strategies contained within.

The "Autism and Developmental Delay Resource Catalogue" has some great therapy items, including chocolate-flavored vitamins, for the child with a limited diet.

A fantastic method of education; "Division:TEACCH" (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped CHildren )'s mission is "To enable individuals with autism to function as meaningfully and as independently as possible in the community;  To provide exemplary services to individuals with autism and their families and those who serve and support them;   To generate knowledge; To integrate clinical services with relevant theory and research; and to disseminate information about theory, practice, and research on autism through training and publications locally, nationally and internationally. 

Read "One Mom's View" of coping with the diagnosis by clicking here.

'What will my child be like in the future?' is a question we have all asked.  In the article entitled "My Affiliation With Autism", a mother tracks her autistic daughter through growth stages and generously shares her story with us!  Please remember, all of our kids our very different, this is one person's story only! You may also want to check out "Autism in Adulthood". Again, be aware of each child's uniqueness...

Autism, Myths, And What You Can Do 

A "Full Listing of Books on Autism" contains more than 600 titles.

R+einforcement Unlimited Clinical and Behavioral Consultants-Lists of Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers and Counselors, plus Government Regulatory & Licensure Boards by state and province.

"Wrightslaw Game Plan: Practical Guidance for New Parents"  is a priceless website with information regarding special education, IEPs and the law.

For those of us who were frustrated when trying to get a diagnosis of our child, please read the article "The Development of Tools for Earlier Diagnosis of Autism is Moving Quickly" By Beth Azar American Psychological Association Monitor staff.  It contains updates on an earlier diagnosis.
Ray's Autism Page
Autism FAQs - Treatments
Autism Resources (listing by state and province)
Unlocking Autism

Autism: recognizing the signs in young children

Publication List for Information Packages from the Autism Research Institute 

Common Health/Disability Acronyms 

What Does the Diagnosis "Autism" Mean?

Doomed Before Kindergarten? - Not a depressing piece, this article talks about how children with ASD can still make terrific gains after the age of five. Takes some pressure off of parents! :) 

Early Signs of Autistic Disorder

Living Without a Diagnosis

American Academy of Pediatrics: The pediatrician's role in the diagnosis and management of autistic spectrum disorder in children.

Unraveling Autism: From the National Institute of Mental Health

Warning Signs of a Toddler's Social/Cognitive Delay

Special Needs Kids Children who have a disABILITY deserve to be treated just like any other child. As a parent, how can you accomplish this and at the same time get the support that you need?

You Are Not Alone: For Parents When They Learn That Their Child Has A Disability

Parenting a Child With Special Needs: A Guide to Readings and Resources

Autism/PDD Basics 101

Calling for Help: Making Effective Phone Calls About Your Child

Getting Services for Your Child

Advocating for Your Child: Getting Started

Myth of a Quick Fix

Glossary of terms and acronyms

Autism Web: A Guide for Parents

Growth and Development

Talking to Your Pediatrician

BBB Autism now offers two great documents: "A Beginner's Guide to ASD in York Region" and "A General Beginner's Guide to ASD" (not area-specific).  These two resources will prove invaluable as you begin your journey with your preschooler.  For more information, e-mail

Be sure to email us to ask about BBB Autism Support Network's Ontario workshops "How to Help Your Child with a New Diagnosis of Autism/PDD at Home". Contact

Personal Note From Liz:  I take a special interest in children with a new diagnosis of autism/PDD.  If you'd like to ask me questions, please email me at


50: July 24, 2002

Please note: BBB Autism Support Network is not responsible for information found on websites we are linked to.