It is estimated that 1 in 70 Australians are autistic. Learn more about autism and download fact sheets and other resources below.

Fact sheets

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition – not an illness – that affects how a person thinks, feels, interacts with others and experiences their environment.


Talking about autism

The terminology around autism is complex, changing and often discipline-specific. This guide to ‘talking about autism’ has been prepared with input from our expert advisory group.


Communication tips

These quick tips, from the National Autistic Society (UK), may help you to communicate more effectively with autistic people, whether they be your child, pupil, colleague or friend.



Communication challenges

Many autistic people have difficulty interacting with others and can find it challenging to initiate interactions, respond to others or keep conversations going. They may also miss non-verbal cues or the nuances of a social situation.


Sensory sensitivity

Many autistic people have difficulty processing sensory information. Too much sensory input (hypersensitivity) can cause stress, anxiety and even physical pain. Low sensitivity (hyposensitivity) can also cause issues such as not recognising pain or temperature.


Routines and rules

Autistic people can find the world an unpredictable and confusing place. Sticking to routines, schedules and rules can provide comfort through predictability. Unexpected changes to routine can cause extreme anxiety.


Restrictive interests

Many autistic people have intense and highly-focused interests. These may (or may not) relate to their study, work or community participation. Special interests provide a way to relax and de-stress, a sense of structure and order, and a way to start conversations.


Repetitive behaviours

Many autistic people engage in repetitive behaviours, like hand flapping, rocking, spinning, lining up objects, fidgeting with objects or vocalisations. These behaviours may calm their anxiety, focus their concentration, or help them deal with overwhelming sensations or emotions.


Other resources

Understanding the Spectrum

A comic by Rebecca Burgess

Read online

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Our research into public understanding and acceptance of autism and autistic people’s lived experiences is helping to develop resources and practices that enable autistic people to thrive.

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