Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also influences how they make sense of the world around them.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that whilst all people with autism share certain difficulties and challenges, their condition will affect each individual in different ways.
Some people are able to live relatively independent lives, but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and require a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over or under-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, touch, smells, light or colours.
Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism; those living with Asperger’s Syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.
It is estimated that one in every one hundred children in England has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism (including Asperger’s Syndrome) appears to be more common amongst boys than girls; in fact, boys are three to four times more likely to develop an ASD than girls. This could be because of genetic differences between the sexes, or that criteria used to diagnose autism are based on the characteristics of male behaviour.