自闭症被描述为一种影响儿童发展的终身残疾，表现在儿童生命的前三年，尽管对许多人来说，他们的情况并不总是很明显，导致它被称为隐性残疾(Rosenblatt, 2008)。这个词的词根是希腊语autos(汽车)或self(自我)，指的是那些有条件将自己与他人隔离，并从事自我中心思想过程的人。它的使用是由一位瑞士心理学家Bleuler提出的，尽管最初对这种情况的描述是由Kanner(1943)和Asperger(1944)提供的。他们认为这种情况从出生开始就存在，通过诸如“……社会交往、语言和非语言交流、以及重复行为”方面的困难等特征问题表现出来(《自闭症之声》，2015a，第1段;弗里斯认可，2003;其中Wing(1988)创造了术语“损伤的三元组”。这是Wing和Gould(1979年)和Wing(1996年)的工作，这是将自闭症视为一系列障碍的基础，这些障碍是由于发现儿童在不同的技能上存在困难，包括社交、沟通和想象力。第五版的出版精神疾病诊断与统计手册(2013)看到所有自闭症障碍被合并成“…一个伞ASD诊断…(而)以前,它们被视为不同的亚型,包括自闭症儿童崩解障碍、广泛性发育障碍另有规定(PDD-NOS)和阿斯伯格综合症”(“孤独症代言人”,2015年,第1段). Worth(2005)也强调了这样一个事实:患有这种疾病的人可以有很好的死记硬背能力，对感官刺激过于敏感，缺乏协调性，在运动发展方面有困难。
Autism has been described as a life-long disability which affects development which manifests in children during the first three years of their lives , although for many their condition is not always immediately obvious, leading it to be referred to as a hidden disability (Rosenblatt, 2008). The root of the term is in the Greek autos or self and refers to the tendency for those who have the condition to isolate themselves from others and engage in self-centred thought processes . Its use was initiated by Bleuler, a Swiss psychologist, although the first descriptions of the condition were provided by Kanner (1943) and Asperger (1944). It was their opinion that the condition was present from birth, manifesting itself through characteristic problems such as difficulty with “… social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and repetitive behaviors” (Autism Speaks, 2015a, para 1; endorsed by Frith, 2003; Evans et al., 2001) for which Wing (1988) coined the term the Triad of Impairments. It was the work of Wing and Gould (1979) and Wing (1996) which was the foundation of looking at autism as a spectrum of disorders, as a result of children being found to have difficulties across a diverse range of skills including those of social interaction, communication and imagination. The publication of the DSM-5 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2013) saw all autism disorders being merged into”… one umbrella diagnosis of ASD… [whereas] previously, they were recognised as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome” (Autism Speaks, 2015a, para 1). Worth (2005) also highlights the fact that those with the condition can have an excellent rote memory, an over sensitivity to sensory stimulus, a lack of coordination and difficulties with motor development.