Autism is a developmental disability that involves dysfunction of parts of the central nervous system, with males being four times more likely to have Autism than females. Autism causes disruptions in the development of language concepts and communication, the ability to relate to and empathize with people, and the capacity to process and respond to sensory stimuli. These distortions can lead to the child experiencing feelings of confusion, anxiety, frustration and fear that may be manifest through bizarre or problematic behaviors.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a broader definition of autism that includes the range of intensity, symptoms and behaviors that are associated with Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). Common adverse events in social interaction and communication. Restricted / stereotyped behaviors and interests are characteristic, such as an obsession over toy cars. PDD is usually evidenced by age three in children. Children with PDD have difficulty talking, playing with other children and relating to others, including their family. Types of PDD include: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger's disorder, Rett's disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS)

Children with PDD's have delayed communication and understanding of language. Their ability to express their feelings and recognize the feelings of others is impaired. Autism results in injury in communication and social relating, both initiating and responding. Inappropriate behaviors are often exhibited because the child does not know how to initiate social interaction when they want it. Children with autism often have limited play interests; their play is more often centred around certain objects and is often repetitive, such as lining up toys in rows. Information presented in visual form is more permanent for them. They have difficulty processing auditory information, particulty in analyzing and retrieval spoken information and filtering background noise. They are alert to some sounds but not others and have difficulty interpreting which sounds are relevant. Children with autism often excel in tasks involving rote memory such as times tables, and interpretation of permanent visual material such as recognizing countries on world maps.