Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is primarily characterized by difficulties in social interactions and communication, as well as by restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests.

Each autistic person is unique, with their own strengths, challenges, and needs. People with ASD may perceive and interact with the world in different ways. Some may be hypersensitive to sensory stimuli, while others may have pronounced preferences for structured routines or specific interests.

In the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), ASD is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder rather than a disease. The diagnostic assessment includes a severity rating, ranging from 1 (requiring support) to 3 (requiring very significant support), in order to specify the individual’s needs.

Recognition and appreciation of the diversity within the autism spectrum are fundamental to providing personalized and inclusive support to autistic people and their loved ones.

The prevalence of autism in Quebec is estimated to be 1.7% of the population.