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We use the Triad of Impairment to describe the difficulties that those with Autism have a on a daily basis.

The Triad is made up of three areas of difficulty

  • Social Communication
  • Social Interaction
  • Social Imagination or Rigidity of Thought patterns

Below are some of the difficulties you would commonly see in these areas, but it is important to remeber that each person with Autism is an Individual at that these difficulties are not set in stone and do not apply to everyone.

Social Communication

  • not appreciate the social uses or pleasure of communication.
  • talk at people rather than to them.
  • expression of own emotions/feelings.
  • understanding the emotions/beliefs of others.
  • reading the meaning of gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.

Social Interaction

  • inappropriate touching
  • difficulty understanding / using non verbal body language
  • personal space issues
  • unaware of different social relationships / hierarchy
  • struggle to initiate and maintain relationships
  • not understanding / reading social cues / rules


Social Imagination

  • doesn’t understand others views / feelings/ lack of empathy
  • difficulties with Theory Of Mind
  • agitated by changes in routine
  • unable to generalise information
  • special interests / obsessive behaviour
  • literality
  • rigid thought patterns

The Dyad of Impairment

The dyad of Impairment was introduced witht he DSMI -5. The difference is now that sensory difficulties are taken into account when assessing and diagnosis Autism