Learn About Autism

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates, thinks, and interact with others and the world around them. ASD is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.  Some people with autism need a lot of support at times, and others might need less. Each person is different and it’s important to understand everyone’s unique needs.



ASGW Autism 101 Webinar

To learn more about autism view this free one hour webinar presented by Sharon Hammer & Lisa Ladson.

New to Autism

New to Autism

The Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin is here to help guide families who have a child newly diagnosed with autism. Our Next Step Program can help your family understand what this new diagnosis means, find community resources, and find emotional support. Contact our office today to receive a free resource package and/or to connect with other parents who have been down a similar path.

Contact us at 920-558-4602 or info@autismgreaterwi.org about our Next Steps program.

A printed copy of our Next Step booklet is included in the resource package but is also available electronically.

Milestone Map

Track Your Child's Developmental Milestones

The journey of your child's early years includes many developmental milestones for how he or she plays, learns, speaks, and acts.

Use this map to learn what to look for in your child. Talk with your child's doctor about these milestones.

Not reaching these milestones, or reaching them much later than other children, could be a sign of a developmental delay.

What are some of the characteristics of autism?

People with autism may experience challenges with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASDs also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things.

May not understand imagination or play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll)

May not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over)

May spin objects or themselves

May have trouble turning attention when directed to

May have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all

May avoid eye contact or prefer to be alone

May have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings

May avoid physical contact

May not imitate others

May appear to be unaware when other people talk to them but respond to other sounds

Might be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them

Might repeat or echo words or phrases in place of normal language (echolalia)

May have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions

May have trouble adapting when a routine changes

Might have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel

May have difficulty entering conversations and taking turns within conversations

May interpret language in the literal sense (may not understand figurative language such as “Let’s hit the road”)

If you are concerned about your child’s development, don’t wait – contact your health care provider for an evaluation.

Autism Across the Lifespan

Autism Across the Lifespan

Like everyone else, people with autism move through significant life changes. Their quality of life depends not only on the foundation provided in childhood, but also on ongoing supports that are specific to their educational, medical, social, recreational, family, and employment needs. The Autism Society supports people with autism and their families through five critical stages of life:

  • Birth to Five
  • School Age
  • Transition to Adulthood
  • Adulthood 
  • Older Adult