The diagnostic and behavioural features of autism can be interpreted via cognitive frameworks to provide simpler models to make sense of a seemingly diverse set of behaviours in a (relatively) unified way. This chapter considers several observable domains of autism, and explores how these have been represented at a cognitive level, in order to introduce key terms, methods and concepts. It provides an overview of the potential value of cognitive models and a framework for critical appraisal of psychological theory. Social interaction and communication challenges are often characterised at the cognitive level as manifestations of a difficulty with ‘mentalising’ or ‘Theory of Mind’. At the interoceptive level, there is evidence that some autistic people may experience even fundamental states, such as hunger and pain, differently from the general population. The cognitive level explanation of restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests is (even) less clear cut than for social and communication differences associated with autism.