Autism is a lifelong developmental condition which impacts on individuals in different ways. Autism affects the way a person relates to other people;
- some are unable to speak and have difficulties processing information, such as sounds, smells or touch
- some have a limited range of interests and experience difficulties with changes and transitions
- others are able to speak but their social communication is affected in more subtle ways, for example they may not pick up facial expressions and eye gaze, irony or the meaning of everyday expressions.
People with Autism Spectrum Disorder may require a high level of specialist support whilst others are more able to function independently. However they too can experience significant social difficulties, feel isolated and can experience anxiety and depression. Many famous scientists, writers, philosophers, musicians and artists are thought to have had a mild form of autism called Asperger syndrome.
Around 1% of the population is reported to have autism.