Autism is a life-long, developmental condition which affects more than 1 in 100 children in the UK.
Autism can affect a person’s ability to communicate with and relate to others, their understanding of the world and their ‘sensory processing’ – the way their brain interprets sounds, touch, tastes, smells, lights, or colours.
Children with Autism may have a love of routine and repetitive activities and find change very difficult to cope with. They may become extremely interested in one subject and not want to talk about anything else.
You may hear the term Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) used to talk about a wide ‘spectrum’ of conditions, including ‘childhood autism’, which can be diagnosed from about two years old, where children may be completely ‘non-verbal’, (i.e. don’t talk at all), to ‘Aspergers Syndrome’ or ‘High Functioning Autism’ which can be harder to diagnose as children may appear to be very good at learning information, but struggle with their social skills.
Many more boys than girls are diagnosed with Autism and girls who are on the spectrum often have very different symptoms to boys. Pathological Demand Avoidance (or PDA) is also now considered an Autistic Spectrum Condition.