Autism is best described as a psychological condition usually appearing in early childhood, characterised by a lack of communication and social interaction. There may be tendencies to repeat inappropropriate responses and behavioural issues may arise at some time. Parents often experience an emotional barrier when they try to make eye or verbal contact, but there is no definitive list of traits or issues that point to autism being present.
If a person is on the autistic spectrum they will display all or some of the above characteristics to a greater or lesser degree. Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome are also on the autistic spectrum. Some autistic people can cope quite independently in society given the right support and guidance, others need specialist input and one to one care.