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ASD - What is Autism?

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Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. A disability is a physical or mental need that makes it hard to do some things, like talk. People with autism can find it hard to communicate and interact with the world.

One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.

Autism can appear differently in girls. More males are diagnosed with ASD than females. Currently the ratio is 3 males for every 1 female get a diagnosis. This can also be written as 3:1.

Girls tend to be better at masking their needs so they are under reported. The National Autistic Society have more information on girls, women and autism.

Autism is a spectrum condition and affects people in different ways. Like all people, autistic people have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Difficulties that autistic people may have are:

  • Social communication and interaction
  • Repetitve and restictive behaviour
  • Over- or under-sensitivity to light, sound, taste or touch
  • Highly focused interests or hobbies
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Meltdowns and shutdowns

Find out more about these by visiting the National Autistic Society's website.

There are also lots of positive features about autism:
  • Good memory
  • Honest
  • Don't judge others
  • Passionate
  • Innovative

The University of Leeds have made this poster about these positives.

The National Strategy

The Government have created a National Strategy for Autistic Children, Young People and Adults. A strategy is a plan of things to do over a period of time. This plan tells you how the Government want to improve the lives of autistic people, their families and carers over the next few years.
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Last reviewed: 23/06/2021