What is autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition – not an illness or disease. People who are autistic can communicate and interact differently with the world.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning it affects everyone differently.
What causes autism?
The exact cause of autism, or even whether it has a cause, is unknown.
Because it can affect people in the same family and in some cases appears to be passed down from parent to child, it is thought to potentially be a genetic condition.
What are the symptoms of autism?
Autism affects everyone differently, but people with autism may:
- Have difficulties with social communication and find it hard to interact with others.
- Struggle with social interactions, recognising or understanding how other people feel and expressing their own emotions.
- Experience restrictive behaviours. Autistic people may like to stick to a set routine and changes to this or unfamiliar situations can be distressing and cause anxiety.
- Feel over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to senses such as light, sound, taste or touch.
- Have restricted and highly focused interests and hobbies.
- Experience meltdowns and shutdowns when a situation becomes too overwhelming.