Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) Assessments Pathway
What is autism and neurodiversity?
Autism is a lifelong condition that around 2% of people are born with. It affects the way we feel or interpret the world around us and how we interact with other people.
Nobody knows exactly what causes Autism and why some people are autistic and others not, however, we do know that autism sometimes runs in families and every autistic person is different.
Autistic traits that young people have described to us
Sensory (e.g. taste, touch, smell, sound, lighting)
•Keeping conversation going may be difficult
•Communication becomes harder when you are overwhelmed
•Not knowing what other people mean
•The way you use your voice and body language may be different to other people
•Hard to know if someone is your friend
•Other people’s expectations of you might be confusing
•Feeling different to the majority of people
•People often disagree with you, which may lead to arguments
•Feeling tired after socialising
•Working hard to fit in
•Needing lots of time to yourself
•Wanting to spend a lot of time doing or learning about specific things
•Finding it hard to focus on things you are less interested in
•Your interests are different or more intense than other people’s
•Changes to plans may be upsetting
•Knowing when things will happen ahead of time helps you
•Having a routine helps you cope and stay organised
•Labels in clothing and some fabrics make you feel uncomfortable
•Certain textures and tastes of food and drink are very unpleasant
•It can be hard to get on with your day if the sensory environment is overwhelming for you
•You may find certain sensory input calming and helpful
•Finding it hard to work out how you are feeling
•The sort of things that upset you are different to other people
•Calming down and managing how you behave when you are upset is hard
•You may avoid doing things because you are nervous
•Thinking the same worried thought over and over
•Not knowing how to respond when other people are upset
•Finding it difficult to talk about emotions
Neurodiversity is a word that describes the varied ways that people’s brains or minds work, all brains are equally important and valuable. Autistic people, as well as people who experience conditions like learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia and Dyspraxia might be referred to as “neurodivergent”.
Lots of people with these conditions find the idea of neurodiversity helpful. It helps them to honor or feel proud of themselves.
All people are unique with different likes, dislikes, strengths, and challenges. People with autism go to university, get jobs, travel the world, become parents, and have relationships.
There are people you may have heard of that have said they have Autism too…
Greta Thunberg who is a climate crisis activist. Her autistic traits may have helped her to focus on campaigning and raising awareness of this important issue.
Armani Williams is an American stock car racing driver who was diagnosed with ASD at the age of two.
Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon is also on the autism spectrum.
Autism is protected under a law called the Equality Act 2010. This means that it is against the law for people to treat you unfairly because of your condition, and that they should put things in place to help you.