What is Autism?

Autism is a life long developmental spectrum condition that affects around 1.1% (statistics gathered from autism.org.uk) of the population. It is characterised by the following areas of difficulty:

Social Communication

  • Difficulties in understanding verbal and non-verbal cues 

  • Difficulties in using or understanding facial expressions, tone of voice or sarcasm with a tendency to take things literally

Social Interaction

  • Difficulties with making or maintaining relationships due to a lack of understanding of people’s emotions and  feelings, with a difficulty in understanding how to respond in a appropriate manner
  • Unwritten social rules that might seem obvious but need to be explicitly explained for a person with autism

 Repetitive behaviours and sensory sensitivities

This area is now receiving a lot more attention and research as it more evident that these sensory impairments can be very debilitating for a person with autism.  It can be characterised by:

  • A difficulty in sensory integration-linking information that comes in through different senses.

  • Easily overloaded by sensory input and the need to self regulate 

  • Can be unusually over or under sensitive to different sounds, smells and touch

  • Ritualised behaviours that they feel compelled to do without logical reason

People with autism also have many identified strengths:

  • Amazing attention to detail and can focus on particular activities
  • Great visual skills 
  • Specific skills related to their interests