Autism awareness

  1. About autism (selected)
  2. What you can do

About autism

Autism is a spectrum condition. This means that being autistic will affect everyone differently. People of any gender, religion, social background and nationality can be autistic, although it is more common in men than in women. Autism is a lifelong condition and cannot be treated or cured. Often people with autism feel that it is a fundamental part of who they are. There are some common impairments that many people with autism have.

Impairment in imagination

This means that a person with autism may not be flexible in the way they think about interests, routines, perspecitves and rules. They may

  • not understand other people's point of view or feelings
  • be agitated by change
  • not generalise information
  • have a very literal undestanding of things.

Impairment in social relationships

People with autism can struggle to understand how to behave and interact with other people. They may

  • have diffculty understanding unwritten social rules realting to touch, proximity, turn taking and appropriate use of language
  • be unaware of different ways to interact with different people, for example, friends, staff or strangers.
  • want to have friends and relationship but struggle to initiate and maintain them.

Impairment in social communication

People with autism can find it difficult to communicate effectively. They may

  • communicate for their own needs rather than for social engagement
  • talk about their own interests regardless of the listener's response
  • not always want to communicate with others
  • have diffculty 'reading between the lines' or picking up on the subtext of a conversation.

These lists are not exhaustive and people with autism can experience a range of other difficulties including

  • sensitivity to noise and light
  • mood disturbances
  • difficulty paying attention to people and tasks.

Some people have related conditions such as a learning disability or mental health problems.  

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