Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
It is a spectrum condition, which means that each person with autism will share certain difficulties but their condition will affect each of them in a different way. Some people may be able to live relatively independently but others may have an accompanying learning disability and need lifetime or specialist support. Some people with Autism may even experience an over or under sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, lights or colours.
Another form of autism is called Asperger syndrome, people with this condition are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have some difficulty with understanding and processing language.
How do people with autism see the world?
People who have autism have said that to them the world is full of people, places and events which they sometimes struggle to make sense of and this can cause them considerable anxiety.
Taking part in everyday family and social life may be hard for them, some people with autism may even wonder why they are ‘different’.
It is part of the autism spectrum and is sometimes referred to as an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. The word spectrum is used because each person’s condition will affect him or her in very different ways. The three main areas of difficulty for people are:
- Difficulty with social communication
- Difficulty with social interaction
- Difficulty with social imagination.
All people who have autism can benefit from a timely diagnosis and access to appropriate services and support.