What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Autism is sometimes known as Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Autism Spectrum Condition. People with Autism sometimes prefer to use one of these terms or describe themselves as Autistic. Autism is also know as a ‘neurodiversity’ , along with several other diagnoses.
Autism is a lifelong, developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people and how they experience the world around them. An Autistic person may have difficulties with verbal and nonverbal social communication skills that affect their daily life and they may struggle to interact with other people, cope in social situations and form or maintain relationships. Autism is also associated with restricted and repetitive behaviours, such as finding it hard to cope with changes, repetitive movements, fixated interests and sensory processing differences.
These features must be present in the early developmental period, but may not be recognised by others until later on in a person’s life. These may become apparent as the social demands increase, or conversely may be masked by learned strategies as a person gets older.
Having a diagnosis of Autism does not mean that there is something ‘wrong’ with a person, although we acknowledge that differences in social communication and interaction can lead to challenges in life, such as finding it hard to cope at school. We also recognise that Autistic people have many strengths and with the right understanding and support around them can lead a fulfilled and meaningful life. A diagnosis should not be required for interventions that support your child, but it will help your child and others understand the way they think and perceive the world.