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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that involves impairment in interpersonal interaction, communication, and, as a result, daily functioning. ASD usually presents within the first 3 years of life, during childhood development. It can present differently in different people depending on the level of severity in respect to their condition, developmental level, and age.

ASD encompasses many different disorders including: early infantile autism, childhood autism, Kanner’s autism, high-functioning autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), childhood disintegrative disorder, and Asperger’s syndrome.

People with ASD usually have intellectual impairment and/or language impairment. While the exact cause of Autism remains uncertain, research suggests the Autism is caused by a one or a combination of factors, including genetic factors, environmental influences, and/or problems before, during, or after birth.


While signs and symptoms of ASD will differ depending on the various factors, including the level of severity, age of the individual, and developmental level, the common elements include:

  • Persistent deficits in social communication (verbal and nonverbal communication)
  • Persistent deficits in social interaction
  • Lack of social-emotional reciprocity
  • Restrive, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities
  • Present in early developmental period
  • Significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning
  • No better explained by intellectual or developmental disabilities


Dalton Associates offers flexible, tailored treatment plans to support individuals with ASD, and their families or support persons.

Our treatment approach is based on the principles of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), which a structured and systematic teaching method based on learning theory that teaches new skills and decreases unwanted behaviours. ABA has been shown to be an effective treatment for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other disabilities across the lifespan. We teach skills across all developmental domains, including communication/language, self-help, school readiness, social, and play skills. Treatment intensity varies based on the family’s goals; hours can range from 6 per week to over 20 hours per week.

Treatment that is over 20 hours per week is referred to as Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI). The goal of IBI is to significantly improve a child’s overall functioning and developmental trajectory. The Ministry of Child and Youth Services (MCYS) provides funding to young children diagnosed with Autism to receive IBI services.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.
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American Psychological Association. (2016). Autism.
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Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. (2016). Autism spectrum disorder.
Retrieved from

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