Autism is a lifelong, developmental condition that affects how a person communicates, relates to other people, and experiences the world around them.
Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be 'cured'. Often people feel that autism is a fundamental aspect of their identity and personality.
Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain characteristics, being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people may have related conditions such as learning disabilities, ADHD etc... Some autistic people people may experience mental health issues or other conditions. The needs experienced by the individual will affect the type and level of support they may require. All people on the autistic spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, everyone can expect to live a fulfilling life of their own choosing.
Autism is much more common than most people think. There are around 700,000 people in the UK living with autism - that's more than 1 in 100. People from all nationalities and cultural, religious and social backgrounds can be autistic, although it appears to affect more men than women.
Some autistic people say the world feels overwhelming and this can cause them considerable anxiety. In particular, understanding and relating to other people, and taking part in everyday family, school, work and social life, can feel more challenging. An autistic person may find it difficult to know how to communicate and interact with people. Autistic people may wonder why they are 'different' and feel their social differences mean people don't understand them.
Autistic people often do not 'look' disabled. Some parents of autistic children say that other people simply think their child is naughty, while adults find that they are misunderstood.
The term Asperger's is no longer widely used to describe a person's disability or ability. People are now described as being autistic, on the autism spectrum or have an autistic spectrum disorder or condition (ASD or ASC). Like other autism profiles, asperger syndrome is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how the person perceives the world and interacts with others.
A diagnosis is the formal identification of autism, usually by a multi-disciplinary diagnostic team, often including a speech and language therapist, paediatrician, psychiatrist and/or psychologist.
The following link will take you to the main webpage for the National Autistic Society where there are many tips and guidance regarding managing or supporting a person's behaviour, communication or other relevant needs. This information can be useful to those who have already received a diagnosis or to those who may be awaiting a diagnosis.
For more information regarding autism and support including tips for how to manage difficult and challenging behaviours, take a look at the website for the National Autistic Society . The 'About Autism' section provides valuable information on autism and supporting positive behaviour and communication.