What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects the way a person communicates, and relates to, people and the world around them. They may encounter difficulties with everyday living, social interaction and may have additional complex learning, behavioural and mental health needs. They may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smell, light or colours.

Autism is a lifelong condition, meaning that there is no ‘cure’ – a lot of people view being on the spectrum as a fundamental part of their identity. Autism is also a hidden condition, meaning that you cannot tell whether somebody has autism just by looking at someone. Around 1 in 100 people have autism in the UK.

Autism is often described as a spectrum condition. This means that while all individuals may share certain difficulties, having autism will affect them in different ways and the level of support that each person needs will be different.

Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is a form of high-functioning autism. Although people with AS are of average or above average intelligence, they may have difficulty with social understanding and relating to other people. People with AS can have very specific interests and therefore they can learn a lot about certain subjects.

Find out more about autism on our useful links page.