According to the Ambitious About Autism website, one in a hundred people are on the autism spectrum in the UK, enough to fill Wembley Stadium nearly eight times over! In 2019, it was the fastest growing need type in Kent, UK.
Autism is a lifelong condition. It cannot be “treated” or “cured”. Many on the spectrum find this idea as offensive as being autistic is part of their identity, who they are and their personality.
There is no specific identified cause for autism. However, researchers believe it is likely to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors which can interrupt the development of the brain and central nervous system.
Autism is a spectrum condition. Every individual is unique and it is important to understand that being autistic affects people in different ways. Any of the following may also impact on the way in which autism presents:
All autistic individuals are affected in some way in the following areas:
Communication, in all its forms is complex and the ability to understand it is difficult for individuals on the autism spectrum.
Individuals on the spectrum may have difficulty with:
Parent/carers often report difficulties particularly around their child's:
Autistic individuals typically find sameness and repetition reassuring and it is common for parent/carers to report how rigid their young person is around routines and rituals. Commonly reported difficulties are:
We process sensory information all the time through hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and moving. Individuals on the autistic spectrum have difficulties with their central nervous system and ability to process these senses. Some may be under responsive and others over responsive, and this varies from sensation to sensation, meaning each person is unique to their response.
Common reported difficulties are:
When a young person is feeling overwhelmed with too much sensory stimuli they experience what is commonly known as 'sensory overload'.
A diagnosis typically helps the person, their family, supporters and friends to understand how best to help, learn strategies and enable the appropriate educational, therapeutic, and support services to be identified and provided. In our experience, the services that families are rightly entitled to are difficult to obtain however. We can help you and support you through this time.
An accurate, early diagnosis may be difficult to obtain and it is always worth seeking a medical assessment from professionals who have knowledge of autism. There are other conditions which are similar in presentation to autism and we would always recommend seeking professional help.
Autistic individuals can need different levels of support depending on how they are affected. It's important to note that not all people with autism will need to live in a supported environment, many do not, however, nearly all will need specialist help or input at some point during their life. With the right support all individuals can enjoy meaningful and inclusive lives and family and friends can be supported too.
For further information on diagnosis speak to your GP or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to help support you.
It is not uncommon for autistic people to also have one or more additional conditions alongside their autism, or for other conditions to closely resemble autism, such as:
These can also be referred to as co-morbid conditions. This can make autism an incredibly complex condition to deal with, many parent/carers report that it is difficult to work out which condition is causing which reaction and how best to deal with this.
As parents of children with autism and co-morbid conditions ourselves, we have insight into how this can impact the individual, family life, school and work, but please be assured that this diagnosis does not necessarily stop the individual from having a meaningful life.