Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram LinkedIn

Learning Centre

Frequently Asked Questions

Autism and Diagnosis

Q: What are the early signs of autism?
Q: How do I know if my child is reaching his or her milestones?
Q: I think my child may have autism. What should I do?
Q: What is the cause of autism?
Q: I heard that vaccines can cause autism. Is this true?
Q: There seems to be a dramatic increase in autism over the past few years. Why is it increasing?

 Treatment and Resources

Q: Is there a cure for autism?
Q: What treatments are available and how do I choose the best treatment for my family and my child?
Q: What does evidence-based treatment mean?
Q: Why should I care if my child’s care is evidence based?
Q: Where can I find good resources for autism information?
Q: My child is not talking yet. What can I do? Will he/she ever talk?

Q: What are the early signs of autism?

A: An individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder will present difficulties in one of the following areas: communication, social interaction or repetitive, restrictive and stereotyped behaviours. Some possible signs of autism include your child not making eye contact and not responding to their name by 12 months, not pointing, not saying single words by 18 – 24 months, showing hyper or hypo sensitivities to noises or textures and / or engaging in repetitive behaviours such as rocking.

Additional Reading:


Q: How do I know if my child is reaching his or her milestones?

A: Regular appointments with your pediatrician or family physician should help to determine if your child is reaching their milestones or if there appear to be any concerns.

Additional Reading:


Q: I think my child may have Autism. What should I do?

A: If you suspect that your child may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, you should make an appointment with your family physician or pediatrician right away. They will help to determine what the next steps should be, including referral to a child development clinic or other specialist for further assessment and possible diagnosis.

Additional Reading:


Q: What is the cause of autism?

A: At this time, the cause of autism is still unknown. However, it’s believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors that play a role in autism.

Additional Reading:


Q: I heard that vaccines can cause autism. Is this true?

A: Although there has been a lot of talk and media attention regarding a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism, the most recent scientific evidence has shown that there is no link between vaccines and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Additional Reading:


Q: There seems to be a dramatic increase in autism over the past few years. Why is it increasing?

A: It’s undeniable that we have been hearing more about Autism Spectrum Disorders over the past few years, in the media, in schools as well as from friends and family. According to the American Psychiatric Association, there appear to be a variety of factors that could account for this increase such as the expansion of the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-IV, an increase in awareness, differences in study methodology, and a possible true increase of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Additional Reading:

Treatment and Resources


Q: Is there a cure for autism?

A: Although there is no cure for autism, individuals with Autism can learn new skills and with intervention, challenging behaviours can be decreased and positive behaviours can be increased which increases the quality of their lives.

Q: What treatments are available and how do I choose the best treatment for my family and my child?

A: Whatever you decide to do to help your child with Autism, it is important to be as informed as possible regarding the treatments and services that are available to you and your family. Do your research about possible treatments; don’t allow yourself to choose a treatment simply based on what someone says, or testimonials – get informed. The sites below can help you to learn a little about the various treatment options and how to decide what to pursue.

Additional Reading:


Q: What does evidence-based treatment mean?

A: If a treatment is evidence based, is will have the following characteristics:

  • It will come from a large body of research.
  • It has been peer reviewed by reputable scientists.
  • It is provided by a practitioner who has both clinical and scientific training with knowledge of the current research.
  • The individual’s characteristics and values are factored into treatment choice.
  • Once applied, the treatment is appropriately monitored, evaluated and adjusted as needed.


Q: Why should I care if my child’s care is evidence based?

A: Evidence based treatments are the only treatments we know to be studied for effectiveness.

Additional Reading:


Q: Where can I find good resources for autism information?

A: There are countless books and websites that provide information and resources regarding ASD. The Association for Science in Autism Treatment’s website provides a multitude of topical articles, book reviews as well as research synopses that can be very helpful to you.

Additional Reading:


Q: My child is not talking yet. What can I do? Will he/she ever talk?

A: Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is one of the areas of impairments of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. If your child is not talking yet, it does not mean that they will never talk. Intervention by professionals such as Speech and Language Pathologists and Behaviour Analysts can help your child begin to develop some communication skills. Although not all children with an ASD will learn to speak vocally, what is crucial is that your child has a way to communicate. Your child may be able to communicate using another method such as a picture exchange system, augmentative communication devices or sign language.

Additional Reading: